Today’s zombie audience has pretty much seen it all, right? Not so fast. With the upcoming horror comedy Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, director Christopher Landon is taking a full-tilt bananas approach to the zombie genre. Packed with blood-soaked gags and inappropriate humor, usually co-mingled, Landon has set out to make a film that is equal parts horror and comedy, pulling no punches in either regard.
Last June, I spent a day on the set of Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, in an abandoned building in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, where I watched cast members Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller and Joey Morgan fend off a pack of rabid (fast-moving) zombies for hours on end. While there, I spoke with the cast and crew, and learned a lot about what you can expect from the film when it hits theaters this October. Check out what I learned below.
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse is a relatively new title for the film, which was called Scouts Vs. Zombies when I was on set.
- As you can see from the red-band trailer, this is a very R-rated movie. It’s lewd, it’s violent, and it’s not holding back in either category. Landon explained, “If we’re already going to have to push it into R- territory with gore, let’s push it into R-territory with content across the board. I set out to create bigger set pieces, much crazier things.” Expect torrents of blood.
- Landon designed his action sequences to fall in line with that bigger and crazier mentality. Said Landon, “It feels like an action movie. There’s something oddly James Cameron-ish in this movie, because it goes pretty big.”
- Animals are susceptible to the zombie virus too. Look out for zombified cat and deer ahead. Makeup designer Tony Garnder said he wanted to make the zombie animals as scary as they are funny.
- After getting his Hollywood start with prestige dramas The Tree of Life, Mud and Joe, Sheridan was ready to act in something more lighthearted, though he was initially intimated by the comedic elements.
- Sheridan plays Ben, the lead, who he describes as “that kid that’s sort of in between boyhood and manhood” He’s still in scouts because his friend Augie is keeping him there, but he also wants to move on and do normal highschool kid stuff.
Logan Miller plays Carter, the smartass. Landon says Carter “has a heart of gold buried deep deep deep below.” His official title in the scouts troupe is “Equipment Chief” which is basically the bottom of the barrel job. Carter is not a good scout. Miller explained, “I’m not good at what I do. I have not utilized any of my scout training to kill zombies.” He also hates scouting because “it’s not cool and doesn’t get you ladies.” .
- Joey Morgan plays Augie, the “Squad Chief”. Speaking about how that translates in zombie fighting Morgan said, “I lead them in scouting, but that doesn’t mean I lead them in zombie hunting.” Augie is a nerd, but wears it on his sleeve — literally on his scout uniform, which is covered in achievement badges. Landon loves his character because even though he’s the least “cool”, “he’s the only one who is actually comfortable in his skin.”
- This is Morgan’s first film. He said he couldn’t possibly have imagined the things he was going to do on set.
David Koechner and Cloris Leachman have supporting roles in the film, and they both end up zombified at some point.
- Leachman plays a bitter old cat lady, who has a major gross-out moment with Miller’s character. He described the scenes as “one of the most brilliant and sexual experiences of my life. She did some things to me and my buttocks that I would have never imagined happening.”
- Morgan almost fell out of a car during filming an action sequence. He and Logan Miller both singled that out as the scariest on-set moment.
- The zombies retain echoes who they were when they were alive. For example, their favorite music or traces of their human personality.
- The scouts utilize their survival skills to craft their own homemade weapons. Ben uses a weed-whacker that’s been equipped with extra-large blades.
- It was important to makeup effects supervisor Tony Gardner to create an unique breed of zombies for the film. Part of that involved hiring movement experts for some of most physically intense zombie attacks.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Three scouts and lifelong friends join forces with one badass cocktail waitress to become the world’s most unlikely team of heroes. When their peaceful town is ravaged by a zombie invasion, they’ll fight for the badge of a lifetime and put their scouting skills to the test to save mankind from the undead.
Check out all the full-size new Scouts Guid to the Zombie Apocalypse images below or click-through for high resolution.