GR: What we’ve done with the last two films is retreat into the lower budget range. CGI has enabled us to do amazing that we could never do with prosthetics or mechanics before. What I love about it is that I have years worth of these silly ways to kill zombies in the back of my brain and now I’m able to do it with computer generated imagery. In the latest film we did a gag with a flare gun. We did a gag with a fire extinguisher. These are things we just couldn’t do mechanically, or on the set.
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No, I haven’t been tempted to go back through or go into Avatar-land. Instead, I’ve stayed in my backyard and looked for ways to use the technology to enable us to do sillier things than we were able to do before.
AT: Are we ever going to get a Romero zombie in 3D?
GR: I was around during the first wave of 3D. I was the first guy in the theater when Bwana Devil came out. I remember movies that people don’t realize were 3D movies. Dial M for Murder was a 3D movie. People don’t realize that. It sort of wore off and I’m not sure that this isn’t going to wear off as well.
Ever since then, I’ve wanted to do a 3D film. I’ve never seen the need, and Peter (Producer Peter Grunwald) and I have never been invited, except one time for an IMAX thing that didn’t happen. I’d love to do it. I can’t say yes, I can’t say no. How long is the trend going to last? I don’t know, but I’d love to make a 3D movie, just for the pure fun of it.
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AT: So, I have to ask because there are entire books dedicated to this topic: How do you survive a zombie apocalypse?
GR: Oh boy. I don’t know. You can’t involve me in this debate. Max Brooks wrote The Zombie Survival Guide and I think somewhere in the back of his mind he actually fears that it might happen someday. I keep saying to him, “Max, chances are, it won’t happen.” So, I don’t get involved in that. My pat answer is: Steal a tank.
DT: The problem is that it never works.
GR: The characters always seem to have a genius idea, like in [Survival of the Dead] – here they go to this sparsely populated isolating island, thinking but even there.
DT: The problem is that the characters always have really good ideas about how to stay safe, it just doesn’t work out.
GR: My problem is figuring out why it doesn’t work out. That’s what my films are about – people’s inability to pull together in the same manner without harping on their own agendas.
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AT: Do you think they’ll ever be a day when you say, “You know, I think I’m done with zombies.”
GR: (Laughs) You know what? I don’t know. I have two more story ideas I’d like to do. They’d both be based off of picking characters from Diary [of the Dead] and I’d like to do a little saga with connective tissue. I think at the end of the day, you could wheel me in like John Huston with an oxygen tank and I’d still try to make a zombie movie.