Saturday, 16 April 2011

In Which There Are Zombies

Isn't Twitter interesting? One of the people I follow is James Moran, and a little while back he tweeted about his film, Cockneys vs. Zombies and specifically, the fact that the director was looking for extra zombies, and that people were invited to apply.

I thought at the time, 'that might be fun' but I didn't get around to sending the necessary e-mails, then a bout 10 days back I sent hm a tweet meantioning that I'd failed to apply, he tweeted back to tell me they still needed Zombies, I applied, and so it came to pass that I found travelling up to London on Thursday evening, ready for a VERY early start on Friday morning.

The call was for 6 a.m., which meant leaving the hotel at around 5 a.m. It was too early for the buses, so I had a walk down to the tube station, which took me about 25 minutes. Turns out that there are lots of birds in London, and if you are walking just before dawn, when there's no traffic, you can hear them all singing their little hearts out. Also, the tube trains are lovely and empty at around 5.30, making for a very civilised journey!

With only a little bit of getting confused (which I am chosing to blame on the early hour and my under-caffienated state) I found the right spot..

Next came make up, getting checked over by the costume department (mostly checking that we were wearng clothes which we didn't mind getting blood on..

There was a fine selection of zombies, in various stages of decomposition.

Me, just before filming
One we were made up, we got to watch a short training video showing how a zombie behaves in the wild, and then, in small groups, we had Zombie school, to learn the finer points of Shambling, reacting to stimuli, and getting shot. Oh, and they added more blood.

There was coffee and sausage sandwiches around this point, too.

We were then taken to the location to start shooting. This was only just down the road, so we walked, getting one or two funny looks. Anyone would think that seeing a crocodile of blood-soaked zombies walking down the street is unusual in some way.

Once we got there, it was clear to see we were in the right place - several cars with smashed windows, random body parts strewn around the place (and they were very realistic. I just hope they remembered to pick them all up again afterwards)

We were mostly doing repeated takes of one scene (I won't say to much for fear of spoilers) I think I may reveal that it involved a fair few zombies, and some cockneys, and thet they weren't getting along.

Even Zombies chill out sometimes
Between takes, the make-up people were rushing about to freshen up our blood, including giving us fresh blood to put on our teeth and gums.

New thing learned : blood has a minty-fresh taste. Maybe this is why the zombies like it?

Actors including Honor Blackman , Alan Ford, Michelle Ryan were all there - although of course mostly (except when we were trying to kill them) they were at  a distance.

There are more pictures here (I wouldn't normally link to a Mail story, but needs must... this is the same place we were filiming, although a different day so none of the zombies in those pics are me, although I do recoognise several of them!)

We spent a long time on  the same scene, which was (as far as I could tell) being shot from lots of different angles. It was very interesting to watch, and to appreciate just how much time, hard work and painstaking attention to detail is involved in making a film. Also, from the little I heard of the dialogue it sounds as though it'll be entertaining. should be worth seeing for reasons other than to try to spot myself!

Hungry Zombie
Part way through we had to stop and wait as a tourist boat came through, and had to wait for the lock/bridge to open so it could go through. watching the looks on the faces of the passengers was entertaining, and I like to hink that they enjoyed being waved on their way by a bunch of living corpses..

We worked all morning, then back to base for lunch, then back to the same location for another, much shorter scene (I think this was mostly a long distance, panning shot in which I and the other extras will feature a distant blobs, but I may be wrong)

A small cohort were then driven away to be in a further scene, but I wasn't among them, so after getting most of the blood off my face, I was free  to go, at about 3 p.m. (It was tempting to leave it all on, and see what reaction I got on the tube and at the hotel, if I remained covered in blood, but in thhe end I felt it might give people the wrong idea, so I didn't!)
Zombie Me

I had a lot of fun - I'm very glad I did it - I enjoyed chatting to the other Zombies, and I'm really glad I've had the chance to be in a film, and to be a Zombie, and I have a newfound respect for those who do this all the time - I was exhausted after just one day!

So, after getting back to the hotel and showering to get the dried blood and grit out of my hair, I took myself out for an early supper, and went to bed, to dream of those juicy, tasty braaainssss.

If  you want to know more, the film has it's own twitter account and James Moran has listed various other twitterers associated with the film on his blog  here.


spacedlaw said...

Sounds like good fun and a lot of hard work too! But I bet it was a welcome break from your usual duties.

Marjorie said...

It was certainly different!
(Although I'd quite like to turn up in court looking like that, just to see what reaction I get...)

Ani said...

I think you make a *smashing* zombie, and I look forward to seeing you on the big screen!

Marjorie said...

Thank you, Ani. I was quite startled at how dead I looked...