Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead is on the way to Netflix and bringing some insane Las Vegas zombie heist action with it. Screen Rant was fortunate enough to visit the Atlantic City, NJ, set in October 2019 to get an early look at the movie, including an interview with starts Samantha Win and Ana de la Reguera to discuss their roles, working with Zack Snyder, and the insanity that is a zombie heist movie set in Las Vegas.
As if the basic premise isn't enough, we've come to learn the zombie outbreak originated in Area 51, and the zombies themselves include heightened alpha zombies, which are both smarter and faster than traditional shamblers. Naturally, the Area 51 angle also teases the potential of some sort of sci-fi element as well sure to keep viewers guessing the true nature of the zombie plague.
Army of the Dead is Ana de la Reguerra's first Zack Snyder film, but Samantha Win has a long history of working with Snyder and his stunt team, starting as a stunt double on Sucker Punch and seeing more stunt work and even a number of small acting roles in several of his subsequent films, recently playing Euboea, the Amazon helping Hippolyta during the Themyscira chase sequence in Zack Snyder's Justice League.
In terms of tone, is it comedic, is it scary, is it a balance of the two?
Win: I think it hits a lot of different notes. It’s an action-thriller. There’s certainly comedic parts to it. It certainly has its scare factor as well. I think it’s gonna be a great film to kind of cover a lot of different bases, which I really appreciate in a zombie film, because a lot of them can be very horror-driven, but this has such great action sequences and, among the cast, such great humor. I feel like you don’t need to be in a horror mood to enjoy it. Like, those who don’t like scary movies, I feel like can still appreciate this one.
Reguera: It also has the heist element. It’s all the tension of getting the money and, yeah, I’m so glad Sam is here next to me to answer all these questions [laughter]. But yeah, exactly what she said.
Win: You’re right about the heist aspect for sure, though, because it does put more of the thriller spin on it.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your characters, Cruz and Chambers?
Reguera: Yeah, Cruz is, like a war veteran. She’s actually kinda like the original team with Scott [Dave Bautista] and Vanderohe, who is played by Omari [Hardwick], and Chris D’Elia, who plays Peters. So, we’re kinda like the original team and then we put together this new team, ‘cause we’ve already fought zombies before. So, we’re the experienced ones. And Scott and I have a long history behind us, which I can’t talk about that much. But, yeah, me and Kate [Ella Purnell], I’ve known her since she was a baby and I have a body shop, I love cars, so I’m like the driver in some of the scenes. Also, my character, what she loves the most the adrenaline and to do something meaningful and to save people’s lives and she’s very excited to go on this mission.
Win: For Chambers, she doesn’t actually have a relationship with that core team, I actually only have a relationship with Guzman [Raul Castillo], we’re old pals, we’re kinda like street dogs of sorts. So, I’m only there out of my loyalty to Guzman and we enter into that agreement and craziness and heist together. Through him, I end up meeting everybody else. But, my loyalty and my spine is definitely Guzman-related and that will always come first for Chambers.
Reguera: She is also the most badass of all of us [laughter]. Like, she’s the only one who can fight.Everyone has like a special ability on the team. So, you know she’s an amazing fighter andmartial arts fighter.
Sam, you’ve had a long history of working on Zack’s movies. You’ve seen the breadth of what he can do. What is it like seeing how he’s evolved to get here?
Win: I’ve always thought that he was so visually talented with his work, but it’s amazing the way that he understands choreography and body movements. I feel like Zack, particularly, has such a good eye for posturing and strength of the body and he can showcase that in a really beautiful way and you can see that all the way back to 300. He has such an appreciation for the human body. So, I don’t even know that I’d have the mastery enough to see where he’s evolved because he’s always just been so far ahead than anything I’ve experienced, but I got to see a different side of it working as an actress verses working as a stuntwoman. There was a sensitivity to the way he was working with me this time, that I didn’t experience as a stunt double. He was very generous with what he allows you to experience as an actor and the choices that he allows you to make. But, at the same time on the physical side, he makes you feel so confident in what you’re doing. And, he gets so excited when there’s good action and when there’s a good take. He’s famous for the way he yells cut. “Cuuuut!” [laughter] And it’s like, “Oh, we must be moving on.” [laughter] You just know it. I’ve just gotten to see different sides of it. And it’s just been a more sensitive, all-encompassing appreciation working with him as an actor on an action film.
On the stunt side, Debbie suggested that you get the opportunity to showcase in a specific scene in this one?
Win: Yeah, I got super lucky with my fight scene. I’m so excited to see it. Just when the excitement dies down is when it’s gonna come out of course. I get to take down quite a few [zombies] on my own. There’s a moment where I’ll get separated and that’s when Chambers gets to mow through some zombies. And, I’ve worked with the stunt team for a long time as well, Damon Caro, who’s the second unit director, and Wayne Daglish, the stunt coordinator. We were all working together way back on Sucker Punch as well. So, I’ve kind of been groomed in a way to work to their style and their timing and their choreography already. So, the sky was the limit for us and we went crazy. I don’t know what will make the final edit, but we went pretty crazy in that kitchen.
Deb Snyder mentioned that it was important to have very strong badass female characters in this film. Do you guys feel like that’s what’s happened with your characters?
Reguera: Yeah, one of my first scenes is me shooting an M50. I had no idea what it was and all the guys were like, “how was it, how was it?” and everyone was asking me that day and I was kinda the cool kid that day. I got to shoot that gun. It is huge…what’s it called…it’s actually on top of my taco truck. And, it actually, when you shoot that machine, your brain gets that vibration, so at the end I had a bit of a headache cause we shot it many times over. [laughter] But, it was a lot of fun, so we looked really, really cool, the same level as the guys, which is really refreshing, because we fight…I actually think the girls are more stronger. Like, I have another scene with Chris [D’Elia] where he’s tired and I’m the one carrying everything and he’s like a baby, “I can’t do it anymore” and I’m like, super fine and still can handle all the pressure and he’s like crying out and he’s tired and he can’t do that anymore.
Win: There wasn’t a single time when I read the script and thought that the female characters were weak in any way. Between that and The Coyote being a woman and then with the action I’m able to get- I wear a bandana across my forehead, so that should really speak volumes. [laughter inaudible]. But, all of the women get to kick so much ass. And, the fact that part of my getting ready was oil for the abs. I was not given, like, any push-up bras or things like that. I was given oil to oil down the muscle and make sure they really shine.
Did you guys ever think that you’d be shooting in Las Vegas?
Reguera: I thought so [laughter] But I was very happy that-I love New Mexico. That was my favoriteshow there. I was very excited that we’d be in Albuquerque. I love the state and all the thingsyou can do around. So, I was actually very excited I didn’t have to go to Vegas, I don’t like Vegas at all. But, I thought it was gonna be Albuquerque and Vegas, but not Atlantic City.
Is it cool having a casino as a location?
Reguera: Yeah, well, I think we’re only here for three days. Like a week. We’ve been around, like in the kitchen or outside or on top, right?
Win: Yeah, I agree. I think that the backdrop of the casino certainly plays an important role and being able to see the light from the machines and having this environment puts a whole new spin on the film. But, also as actors, I think that whether it was a green screen or Vegas or a fabricated set, that would’ve been fine.
Reguera: All the zombie costumes were great. You turn around and there’s a showgirl zombie. Everyday we’d be shooting and oh, my god, a tiger-
Win: It really gave them so much opportunity for crazy characters with it being set in Vegas. Tigers…a group of Elvis’s that hung themselves, so as we’re navigating through a hallway there’s like seven Elvis impersonators that have hung themselves and it’s like where else would you find something like this? But it just makes it so interesting and appealing and visually stunning; the sequins, the sparkles, and the headdresses. Oh, my goodness. It’s gonna be insane.
In a lot of movies like this there seems to be one or two token characters, but in just this one there seems to be just as women as well as men. What’s the experience been like for you, not just being the girl?
Reguera: Yeah, that’s right. I’ve had that experience of just being the girl, the love interest, the hot Latina, whatever. It’s fine. This time, it was all very equal. I’m just happy that young generations are gonna see these movies and it’s not going to be something new to them. That’s how it is and how it’s supposed to be.
Win: As much as it’s great to be working with any gender at any point, it’s more special to know when you’re shaping young people’s views of how men and women work together and now when they see that, they see both men and women filling all roles in all stories and it won’t be weird for them anymore to see strong women or women with different physiques or women in different levels of power; it will just be normal for them. And, I was really reminded of that the other day when I was waiting for a friend outside the elevators here at the hotel and the bartender in the little bar area, he was an older gentlemen, and I was hanging out there with my friend and there was a celebrity boxing match going on in the casino and he said, “Y’know, you should be in that ring.” And, for a moment I was so flattered, cause I was wearing a tank top and he can see that I work out and that was really kind of him to say. And then he said, “Y’know, they have those show card girls.” And, then he was dancing around, pretending to hold a show card. And, Wayne looked at me and I looked at him. And it was so baffling. Neither of us expected it, cause we’re a little younger, we’re not used to being treated like that. But, it was so normal to him, he was an older generation. And, Wayne looked at him and said, “She’s an Olympic martial artist.” And the guy literally shook his head and went, “Show card girl.” And we were like, “wow.” We walked away and had a whole new appreciation for the environmentwe’ve grown up versus the environment he grew up in. And so now we need to be a part of that moving forward.
Reguera: And also the priority of all the minorities Are obviously portrayed in the movie that's pretty cool. I'm just very happy that I now have friends forever country and I hope we can promote the movie in every country. In India, in Germany, in Japan, in Canada. Is that the plan? Ok, perfect. Cuz that’s how… I’m very excited about people getting more comfortable with accents and with types of people.
Win: And it's a great reminder at this point that we're all people are we all work together And we can all be in any environment together and, yeah. Our cast was from all over the world and at the end of the day everyone was just cool people.