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Dread Attends Zombieland on the Santa Monica Pier

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Dread Attends Zombieland on the Santa Monica PierThis scribe hit earlier today the press junket (which become more like a press conference) on the Santa Monica Pier for Sony Pictures’ forthcoming October 2 release of Zombieland and chatted with the flick’s director, Ruben Fleischer, as well as with film stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Emma Stone and writers and co-producers Rhett Rheese and Paul Wernick. It was a fitting locale, given the nearby roller coaster and a similar ride’s filmic tie-in to Zombieland.

As far the gore and stuff, I think I went a little bit overboard because I wasn’t a big horror fan, video director-turned-first-time feature filmmaker Fleischer admitted in regards to the copious (and I do mean copious) amounts of carnage on display (courtesy of Alterian Inc.). “I just wanted to make sure that we satisfied the zombie audience. (So) there’s a lot of blood, puke, and spit!

Framed by scantily-clad women carousing in the Pacific, Harrelson, whose dry wit pervaded the conference, commented on the stylized gun-play his character of Tallahassee performs in the film. “It was fun. I remember thinking about all of those cool shots in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and I wanted to go back and look to them (in informing my character), but naturally, being lazy – I didn’t.

Dread Attends Zombieland on the Santa Monica PierLaughter ensued as Harrelson continued, “But really, it was kind of a fun thing. Riding on the roller coaster and shooting one person after another was good times!

One of the stars of Zombieland was not on hand for the press conference. This was little surprise given Sony’s gag order of “not to reveal the casting,” which was being enforced on talent in attendance as well. Still, the question came up as to the cast’s on-set interaction with the cloaked actor, and Harrelson allowed, “During the ‘mysterious cameo’ it was really hard to keep it together. In fact I think we probably lost good jokes of his because we were in the frame with him and they couldn’t use it because we were laughing so hard – which was really unprofessional.

Dread Attends Zombieland on the Santa Monica PierStone, who previously told us that she fails as an action star (“I can’t run at all!”), chimed in, “Woody always kept a straight face (on-set). I can never, ever keep a straight face. I shouldn’t be in comedies, or action. I shouldn’t be doing movies! Anytime anyone does improv I laugh, anytime someone tells a funny joke I laugh!

Of the comedic elements of Zombieland (the film is a perfect balance of horror and comedy built on a touching character-driven foundation according to this writer), director Fleischer said, “It’s been really rewarding getting to see the film with an audience to hear the laughs because when you are all alone in an editing room, you just go on instinct. It’s exciting to see the film with an audience and know that it works.

Dread Attends Zombieland on the Santa Monica PierAddressing the comparisons already being made to that other recent zom-com Shaun of the Dead, Fleischer said, “There are so many things in the (Zombieland) script which distinguish it. Specifically, the fast zombies versus the slow zombies, and the fact that it (Zombieland) takes place a couple of months into the outbreak as opposed to at the moment of the virus, and tonally I think it’s much more grounded in character than satire. Inherently, I think it’s an American film as far as it falling into the classic ‘road movie’ tradition as well as the nature of the jokes, the film’s landscape, and the character Woody brought to the screen, which is the classic kind of High Plains-drifter cowboy. It’s an understandable comparison, but I think they both (Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead) stand on their own feet as separate films.

Harrelson concluded with a smile, “What Ruben wanted to say is that Zombieland is the Citizen Kane of action-zombie-horror-comedies.

Visit Zombieland’s official site here, and look for the film in theatres October 2nd.

Sean D.

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Rest in Peace: Bill Gold, Iconic Movie Poster Designer, Passes Away at 97

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Sad news as it’s been confirmed that iconic graphic designer Bill Gold, who was responsible for creating thousands of film posters, has passed away in his Old Greenwich, Connecticut home at 97 years old.

Gold’s career stretched back decades to the early 40’s, where he designed posters for films like Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Big Sleep, and the classic Bogart/Bergman film Casablanca. Over the next several decades, Gold would work with directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Ridley Scott, Stanley Kubrick, Desmond Davis, Oliver Stone, and many, many more. Some of his most famous works were done for many of Clint Eastwood’s westerns, William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, John Boorman’s Deliverance, Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, and a multitude of posters for the James Bond franchise.

Per THR, Gold is survived by, “…his wife, Susan, son Bob, daughter in-law Joanne, daughter Marcy, grandson Spencer, granddaughter Dylann and her fiancé Justin, great nephew Jaaron and “man’s best friend” Willoughby.”

We send our deepest condolences to his family in this sad time. However, we also send our gratitude for a man whose work fascinated and intrigued countless audiences over more than 70 years. I remember walking through a movie theater’s halls and delighting in looking at movie posters, imagining what their stories could hold. I can only believe that other children over the years looked at Gold’s work and wondered the same thing about those films.

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Will Billie Lourd Return in AMERICAN HORROR STORY Season 8?

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For those of you who might not know, Billie Lourd is the daughter of Carrie Fisher. She was one of the stars of Ryan Murphy’s horror-comedy series Scream Queens and has since followed Murphy over to the world of American Horror Story.

Lourd starred in the recent AHS: Cult and it looks like Deadline is confirming that she will return for the upcoming 8th season, which is rumored to be called AHS: Radioactive. Lourd will star alongside Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters and Kathy Bates, and Joan Collins, who will play Evan Peters’ grandmother.

Are you excited about this casting? Make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram!

American Horror Story is an anthology horror-drama series created and produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. The Emmy and Golden Globe-winning franchise is produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television.

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Live-Action F.E.A.R. Adaptation Coming To Machinima

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Screenwriter Greg Russo has signed a deal with Machinima to pen an adaptation of the F.E.A.R. video game franchise, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. The article did not specify whether the adaptation would be in the form of a film or a series.

Russo, who is a lifelong gamer, will work with Machinima on creating and developing the F.E.A.R. adaptation, although we don’t know much else at this point. Machinima are a subsidiary of Warner Bros., and it probably won’t surprise you to learn that the F.E.A.R. franchise has also been owned by WB since 2009. In other words, Warner Bros. were bound to give us a live action adaptation of F.E.A.R. at one point, so we’re not too surprised by this development.

Russo, who is also writing the scripts for the Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil reboots, was quoted as saying the following:

“As a lifelong gamer, it’s an absolute honor to partner with Machinima, the preeminent provider of digital content to gamers worldwide. F.E.A.R. holds a special place in my heart. I’m excited to bring my personal passion to this and future projects and can’t wait to see where our partnership goes from here.”

An acronym for First Encounter Assault Recon, the F.E.A.R. games focus on an elite task force who fight to stop Alma Wade, a young girl with incredible psychic powers, from tearing apart the fabric of reality. Legendary film director John Carpenter served as story consultant on the third game, which we awarded a highly positive review back in the day. We’ll bring you more on Machinima’s adaptation when it becomes availalbe.

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