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THE MIST’s Frank Darabont is moving into production on THE WALKING DEAD, the AMC TV series based on Robert Kirkman’s graphic novels, and the director chatted about his latest horror project. Read on!
Darabont spoke with Fearnet about the show, which has been greenlit for six episodes.
First off, he addressed THE WALKING DEAD’s similarities to last year’s hit film ZOMBIELAND. “It’s going to be a very different animal, it really is, so ZOMBIELAND, as much as I do love it, because boy is it a great comedy, and I laughed my ass off, it’s more in the world of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, another of my favorite movies,” Darabont says. “Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel series is very much a template for us, and it’s a tremendous opportunity to take the subject as serious as possible, and really as a long-term exploration of characters, which is what television does best when television is really working. That’s our goal, so gosh, I really don’t think that ZOMBIELAND is any competition for us nor are we for them. It’s really going to be I think two different animals. We’re much more beholden to Kirkman, which is a comfortable place to be because he has blazed a fantastic trail for us to follow. We will take detours along that path—we will take steps off the trail—but always wind up veering back onto the trail that Robert provides for us, because it’s fantastic stuff.”
Unlike TRUE BLOOD and DEXTER, which air on cable channels, Darabont is going to have to deal with a network and standard and practices. “I think there’s going to be an ongoing dialogue with standards and practices, but I think we have a friendly venue in AMC, if you see the kind of edgy stuff that BREAKING BAD is doing, which I adore, by the way. I don’t think we’re going to be lacking for adult content or the ability to depict the world that we’re depicting. I don’t think we’re going to have that many constraints, and if there are they’ll be in minor increments that will not affect the storytelling that we’re doing. It will just give us an opportunity to maybe do an enhanced cut on DVD or something, but I really don’t think we’ll be constrained too far. I’m certainly not getting the sense that AMC is there to interfere; they are a fantastic group of folks, and they’re very excited about this. They really want to enable rather than hinder this process.”
Darabont shot his last film, THE MIST, digitally, but he’s not going that route with THE WALKING DEAD. “We’re going to go old-school—we’re going to go film,” he reveals. “I tested all of the different camera systems that are available at the moment because I was very keen actually on trying out the digital approach, and then I realized that I was really going to shoot myself in the foot [if] I did, simply because the nature of this particular show [made me consider] you want what you’re shooting on to help the makeup instead of hurt the makeup. Hi-def is a little merciless when it comes to these things, so we’re shooting on film. This is going to be a show where people are hiding places and looking out windows and doors and stuff; well, if what’s outside that door is completely blown-out, nuclear white because digital doesn’t have the latitude that film does, you’d better shoot on film because you want whatever is outside to look like outside. You want to see walls and trees, and even if it’s overexposed, there’s a sense of reality to it. If you’re shooting digitally and you point at the door and all there is is white, you might as well shoot on a sound stage and hang a white silk out there. By necessity, you pick the thing that you think will help the show the best, and yeah—we’re going to be shooting old school.”
In regards to THE WALKING DEAD’s FX team, Darabont tells Fango, “Greg Nicotero and KNB are doing all the makeup effects work. Of course! Who else you gonna call when you need great zombies? Greg’s the best.”
Check out FearNet's full piece here, and watch Fango for more WALKING DEAD updates.
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