8 posts tagged zombies vs. gladiators
8 posts tagged zombies vs. gladiators
Princesses, zombies, Facebook friends, superheroes, a butt-kicking founding father … the most popular projects at Amazon Studios are some of our most colorful. And you’ll find a lot of them on the Amazon Studios Development Slate, announced in May, and expanded throughout the rest of the year.
Of all the projects that have come through Amazon Studios’ open door, these are the 10 that drew the biggest crowds last year:
Ever since it was first uploaded to the site back in 2010, ZvG: Zombies Vs. Gladiators has been one of Amazon Studios’ most buzzed-about projects — and one of its most active. Dozens of writers and filmmakers have offered their takes on the material. And, more recently, some big names have been involved: Horror icon Clive Barker will be doing a rewrite. And comics legend Neal Adams created an animatic.
So what has all this been like for the project’s original writers, Michael Weiss and Gregg Ostrin?
“The whole process has been a lot of fun,” Weiss said. “And we really do appreciate all the interest, debate and enthusiasm about the project. Clive is a master and we can only imagine that he will take the script to the next level.”
As for Adams, “I was also thrilled to hear of his involvement in the project as well. I loved the trailer cut to his illustrations,” Ostrin said. “As a kid who came of age during the glorious 1960s, I have literally grown up enjoying Mr. Adams’ work.”
But it’s not just the celebrity aspect that excites Ostrin and Weiss. “It is incredibly flattering and also empowering to see the excitement around the script, because it only validates our initial belief in the concept,” Ostrin said. “You also need to remember, when we came up with the idea and wrote the script, the only zombie project on the books was World War Z. Walking Dead hadn’t happened, neither had Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. … The whole zombie-mash up thing then exploded at once. But we have always felt this script was unique in that it combines history with a zombie origin story.”
Ostrin’s take on Amazon Studios: “To me this seems like the perfect way to bring together the best of creativity, fanboy enthusiasm and pop culture in an effort to develop a script that will have the benefit of an established presence on the web before it ever gets made.”
Comic book artist Neal Adams, known for his ground-breaking work with Batman, X-Men and The Avengers, recently tackled ZvG: Zombies Vs. Gladiators, a project on the Amazon Studios Movie Development Slate. He created an animatic of the script (see the trailer here), which shows everything from ancient Rome, inside and outside the arena, to a battle with elephants in the mix and “bodies flying everywhere.”
Adams talked with us about superheroes, ZvG, testing visualizations of stories and why comic books can be “the greatest art in the world.”
Some highlights from the interview:
What do you think being a comic fan does for somebody who is making a movie?
First of all, it gives them that critical sense that it’s not what you think it is if you think it’s pop culture – it’s really adventure. These last two Batman movies, it was like you were going to a movie, not a “comic book movie.” So, the Avengers movie, my God, guess what? I am going to a comic book movie, but it sits in a kind of reality that other movies can only pretend to be in.
What happens is the sensibility is changing. People are going, well, these movies do not just mean guys in tights doing super things because they were bitten by a radioactive spider. They mean everything. They mean the ancient gods, they mean Shakespeare, they mean all the things in literature because there’s nothing that can be done anywhere else that can’t be done in comic books.
What excited you most about working on Zombies vs. Gladiators for Amazon Studios?
This was like doing a movie. … I started to do the boards, and I thought, this is cool. I’ve got gladiators killing zombies, that’s great, zombies leaping on people and biting them in the neck. Maybe not the way it ought to be, but you know, they’re going to keep on working on this and turn it into a movie. … All the things where you go “What can they do here?,” they do it. It’s just a pile of great stuff. …
If you do it right, it’s a great testing device for a movie because you can look at it and say, hey, it’s slow here, it’s fast here, this is wrong, this is right, let’s do this, OK, let’s take this out … why don’t we do a classical soundtrack. You’ve made the movie, but now you have a chance to remake it, and make it better.
I’ve done this kind of work for advertising agencies for 30 years. … You can take animatics and for $100,000 you can do five ideas as fully realized commercials, you can test them and find out what’s going to sell the product better. When I first did it … I’ve watched the process, I might have done the first animatic … it made sense to me.
Clive Barker isn’t the only icon to take on ZvG: Zombies Vs. Gladiators, an Amazon Studios Movies Development Slate project. Comics legend Neal Adams created an animatic, which has been shared with audiences in various forms, including this trailer.
Coming soon: Our interview with Adams, who talks about zombies, gladiators, superheroes and the benefits of testing stories with audiences.
Clive Barker, on Zombies vs. Gladiators:
I’m excited by the opportunity to interweave two very rich narrative threads. One of them concerns itself with the reality of the decadence of Rome and its rise and fall. The other is a fantastical narrative element – the living dead. My brief to myself on this project is to give the audience not only zombies they have never seen before but also a Rome they have never seen before.