Day of the Dead 2 Exclusive Interview

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Everyone knows about Day of the Dead 2. Its been in the works for awhile and its had more backlash, bullshit and speculation then any film in a very long time. We decided enough with the rumors and the wierd speculation on what happened, why things happened as they did, and how the movie has turned out. We went right to the director/producer/writer for an Exclusive Interview with Ana Clavell and James Dudelson. Both were good enough to face a no holds barred exclusive interview on the upcoming Day of the Dead 2. So enjoy!

Q: Tell our readers about yourselves. How you became filmmakers and why?

Dudelson:  I started as independent producer and distributor of specialized  films, years before the all the studio's had there own divisions doing it.   I was involved in films like John Sayles "Matewan," "Coca Cola Kid" and two  academy award best winning foreign films "Madam Rosa," and "Get out your  Hankerchiefs" to name a few.

Clavell: Always loved the cinema, but became a filmmaker by accident: I  actually trained as a Stage Manager in the U.K.. After I relocated to my  native digs, Puerto Rico, I found theatre to be of an sporadic nature. On  the advice of a cousin I interviewed for an Assistant Director post with a  local commercial production company. That job evolved into editorial  responsibilities. After a couple of years at it I took a chance and moved to  Los Angeles and started directing and editing music videos for a Latino  company. That winter I found myself jobless until a cinematographer friend  of mine suggested we use the downtime to write, produce and direct a series  of short films. Which we did, and have been working this medium ever since.

Q: What filmmakers, or people within the industry past or present have
inspired you in your art most?

Dudelson:  Alfred Hitchcock

Clavell:  Orson Welles, George Lucas, George Romero, Terry Gilliam. Peter  Greenaway, Tom Stoppard, Angela Carter, David Cronenberg, Ridley Scott, Tony  Scott, to mention a few. Truth is, I find inspiration constantly in many  people's work.

Q: Day of the Dead 2 has brought in a lot of controversy. So let's address  some of the hot issues. How did you acquire the rights to the Day of the  Dead sequel/prequel?

Dudelson  My company owns the rights: I have been in involved with Day of  the Dead for twenty years. The version that the fans love from Anchor Bay we  licensed and worked hard to give the best quality DVD out there.

Q: What made you decide it was time for Day of the Dead 2 and what inspired
the story?

Clavell: I'm intrigued with the theme viral Armageddon and mortality in  general. Contagium was directly inspired by weaponized illnesses and the  general public ignorance regarding their government's secret dealings.

Not  to mention that regardless of our advances in biology, viruses and bacteria  seem to be getting just as persistent...On another level, I remember the  Cold War paranoia very well, and some of the purported experiments taking  place in the depths of the jungle...

Q: When the movie was initially announced on IMDB, George Romero's name was  attached as a writer. How did this happen, since George is clearly not
involved?

Dudelson: I have no idea. We never posted George's name.  We've had a lot of problems with people feeling the need to distribute false information on the internet

Q: Day of the Dead 2 is quite unique. It is not your typical Genre zombie  movie; it reaches out and brings a new light to the zombie genre. Tell us  what inspired the story and concepts behind Day of the Dead 2.

Clavell: The main theme behind Contagium is "the meek shall inherit the  earth". In this case, the "meek" are represented by  some of the most  controversial elements in our society, the mentally unstable. I say  controversial because the line defining normal behavior is, at least to me,  blurred constantly. And, ironically, the "meek" become mega-powerful, so we're looking at an end of the world scenario where the change is lead by the insane and powerful.

Like I mentioned before, viral Armageddon is a very possible reality:  we're looking a a return of an Influenza pandemic, a new kind of swine flu from Asia, Ebola , West Nile, and Dengue, medicine-resistant  strains of staph and AIDS, and weaponized destructive  micro-organisms. In Contagium, the illness is not airborne, it's transmitted through cannibalism.

I think as whole we all have a deep-seated fear of being eaten alive, which makes this way of transmission extremely gruesome. Another key concept is our daily reckoning with our own mortality. Two  of the characters are obsessed with death: Isaac is a necrophobiac (afraid of death), and Emma is suicidal. Isaac's journey takes him to a book he won't put down (the text was inspired by the writings of philosopher Miguel de Unamunio), and Emma through therapy. Ultimately what saves them from themselves is their love for one another, and that in turn destroys the process of a newly evolved human incapable of  compassion. I believe that evolution is still in
progress, and that, if we survive  ourselves, we'll keep changing to adapt  to our changing world. That evolution is brought on in one swift moment in Contagium.

Q: I've been reading some negative feedback (from those who have viewed DOTD 2: Contagium) concerning the zombies and their ability to speak, but I believe I've read before that (sometimes) the process of becoming a zombie  is gradual.. that is why some are able to retain some of their human  identity.  Can you please clear up any confusion we may have about the zombies in DOTD 2: Contagium?

Clavell: There are three types of creatures in Contagium: those who come in  contact with the virus in its pure form evolve into a Superhuman creature  that needs human flesh to keep evolving. The second type are those directly infected by these "superhumans", they are not as clever, and just have  negative extreme feelings and no way to rationalize. Their language is limited. The third creature are those infected by the second creature, and are the true Zombies of lore: can't speak, can't think, are just hungry machines.

Q: Were their any initial plans to bring this film out into theaters or were  you planning a direct-to-video release the whole time?

Dudelson: Our deal with Emmet/Furla (to produce the Day of the Dead remake) prevented us from releasing it theatrically.

Q: How did you go about choosing the cast? Early reviews have praised  Laura  Baranyay for her great work in Day of the Dead 2. Did you deliberately look for new comers and unknowns?

Clavell: Yes, we take great pleasure in working with ensemble casts. There  was real rapport between our cast members on set, and it's clearly reflected  in the finished product

Q: DOTD 2: Contagium just recently screened at FRIGHTFEST in the UK.  How  did it go and can you tell us some of the fans reactions to the film?

Dudelson: I was told it was 80% favorable by the Distributor in the UK. We were not there for the screening.

Q: I've also read that for those who are infected, there is a possible cure?  Could you give us some insight into that.. I'm sure many of our readers are  like "Cure?? What Cure?"

Clavell: I built into the story a serum that has been kept closely under
guard, but it's only effective within an hour of exposure. In my view it
adds more weight to a government experiment during the Cold War that went
unchecked.

Q: Once the film is finally released onto DVD, how do you feel it will stand  up against the GAR films, as well as any other zombie film that has been  released as of late?  Do you feel that your film will finally be vindicated from all the negative publicity it has been receiving (since its announcement)?

Clavell: I can tell you that the vast majority of negative publicity has  been generated on purpose by a few individuals who didn't get what they wanted from us. Their comments have been of a purely vindictive nature since none of them had ever seen more than what was shown at Fantasia last Summer.

I, for one, just want the film and the story to be taken at face value before anyone feels the need to spread bad press for the sake of doing it.  Those earlier nasty comments that had nothing to do with the film itself. Their idea of a scoop was character assassination and personal attacks on the people involved making the film.

Q: What is the story with the film that was shown in Germany? I heard something about it being cut possibly?

Dudelson: Yes, it was cut for German censorship. This is not the version  being released in the U.S, and does it contain the behind the scenes video and commentary. Remember: the uncut 1985 Day of the Dead is still banned in Germany

Q: What can you tell us about the German situation with the pirated copies  that are circulating and being reviewed?

Dudelson: First off I still don't understand the reviews on the movie I've read on the internet - they are clearly from the cut version.  In fact some of these sites are displaying the pirated video box with the review! The movie will be released Oct 18th on DVD that's when people can see for themselves.  The cast members have not even seen the Anchor Bay release.

Clavell: That's not the movie we made, and I'm sorry for all those been  conned into buying or downloading it. They should wait until October 18th, when the uncut version comes out through Anchor Bay.

Q: Can you tell us what is happening with the remake that is going on with Emmet/Furla Films and Nu Image/Millennium Films?

Dudelson: Nothing new to report, but when there is I will let you know...

Q: I also understand that you are currently working on "Creepshow 3". What  can fans of the series expect from that?

Clavell: The stories a solid, the acting is superb, the make up effects are  really gruesome. Creepshow 3 is very close to the original, it's five stories and a wraparound. The tone is partly dark humor, partly scary.

Q: Can you give us any details on the stories that will be told in Creepshow 3?

Clavell: We have vampires, mutated children, voodoo, serial killers, robots, ghosts, haunted radios. Can't say more, I'd give too much away. Also, check the website every few weeks or so...we will be presenting teases of each story. we have already done one for the story tentatively titled "Professor Dayton," and we currently have "Rachel the Call Girl" running right now. You can check it out at: www.creepshow3.com

Q: When can we expect to see an official teaser/full trailer for the film..  as well as more images?

Dudelson:  We'll be releasing them throughout the coming weeks. We are screening a teaser at the American Film Market in November.  We might put together something official after that...

Q: What's the overall feel of "Creepshow 3?"  Will we get a mixture of  horror/comedy and straight up horror?

Clavell: A mixture of horror/comedy, although the comedic part is very disturbing...

Q: My favorite part about the Creepshow series was the animated bits with the Cryptkeeper. Will that old EC comics feel be running throughout this one as well?

Dudelson: Yes there will be animation in Creepshow 3. The animated bits will be done by 23D. The company responsible many of the top animation done in Hollywood.

Q: When can we expect to see Creepshow 3 and do you plan on expanding the series beyond Creepshow 3? Possibly a 4 and 5?

Dudelson: Expect Creepshow 3 sometime in mid-2006.  As for a sequal, we have  to finish editing this one first!

Q: What films do you have planned for the future?

Dudelson:  We are currently developing a Sci-Fi film and a mock reality tv project which we are speaking with several television networks about.  We'll keep you updated...

Q: I have seen both sides of the controversy surrounding these movies and I understand where everyone is coming from. I would like to know how your dealings with the fans have been since you began working on these films?

Clavell: Regarding Contagium, It's a little disconcerting to see fans repeating word for word all the nastily spewed, innaccurate information on the film. Contagium has been for us a real labor of love,  The themes are mature and socially aware, and was inspired by the terrifying world George Romero created. Every fan should make their own mind based on their own experience with the film and not have their opinions made up for them.

Creepshow 3, on the otherhand, has been a different experience altogether. We get on average 40-50 emails a day telling us how excited they are. As a matter of fact, this time we've eliminated the middle man and are keeping communication direct with the fans.

We want to take a minute now to thank both of you for doing this interview. We know the buzz has not always been the best and some of those nasty speculations and rumors have appeared just as much on our site as others. We are pleased you took the time to share your insights with us and clear up any confusion for the fans of CreepShow and Day of the Dead.

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