Exclusive: 'Dead Rising' Movie Details Revealed By Director Zach Lipovsky

The full cast for Dead Rising movie based on the popular Capcom survival horror video game series was announced yesterday afternoon. We have an exclusive interview with director Zach Lipovsky revealing a ton of details about the digital feature from Legendary Pictures and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Transformers).

Here is the cast list which was announced on Monday afternoon:

  • Jesse Metcalfe (John Tucker Must Die, Desperate Housewives, Dallas) plays the lead
  • Meghan Ory (Once Upon A Time, Intelligence)
  • Virginia Madsen (Sideways, Candyman, The Number 23)
  • Dennis Haysbert (24, The Unit)
  • Keagan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel, Once Upon A Time, Battlestar Galactica)
  • Zach Lipovsky

    You might remember 28-year old Vancouver filmmaker Zach Lipovsky as the visual effects maven on Steven Spielberg's 2007 Fox reality TV series On The Lot. Lipovsky has recently been making a name for himself in the horror film world: directing the Syfy television movie Tasmanian Devils starring Danica McKellar and co-producing the found footage action thriller Afflicted. Lipovsky made his feature film directing debut with Leprechaun: Origins, which was released this Summer.

    Here is our exclusive interview with Dead Rising director Zach Lipovsky, where he talks to us about the digital movie adaptation of the popular video game series.

    /Film: Dead Rising is essentially every zombie movie concept crammed into a game. So What can a Dead Rising movie do that all the films the games draw from don't already do?Zach Lipovsky: I think the franchise actually brings a lot of new energy to the genre that we haven't seen in a zombie movie. The idea that you can be bitten and remain human as long as you take your medicine every day is very interesting and dramatic. Similar to the social stigma of living with HIV.

    Another very cool element from the game is the zombies remember a little bit about their previous lives. There is something really haunting about seeing a zombie cop randomly firing his gun, or a zombie mom pushing a stroller.

    Finally what I love in Dead Rising is the city is locked down, but the rest of the world is fine. Families are watching the zombie apocalypse on TV while eating dinner like it's the Super Bowl. We're taking a lot of inspiration from real world events like Hurricane Katrina, the Ebola outbreak, and even the Ferguson Riots.

    What will the balance of action, comedy, and horror be?

    I really like the tone of the game. It's definitely got its dark scary beats, but ultimately it's an adventure film. Every time I get scared or laugh while playing, I make a note to add it to the script. Tonally it will be like "Indiana Jones with Zombies." Fun, scary, dramatic action.

    One hallmark of the series is an absolutely overwhelming number of zombies — is that something we can expect to see?

    One zombie isn't scary, a horde that you can't get through without a chainsaw is very scary. We're pulling every favor we can do have some monster zombie set pieces. The rest will be a matter of focusing on locations and situations where a smaller number in a confined space still has full effect. Some of the most exciting parts of the game are when you're in a tiny room filled with zombies. Pretty much every person I know has already emailed me saying they want to be a zombie, so I think well be fine. We are also planning a long one take action shot with hundreds of zombies which I'm very excited about.

    What can you tell us about the setting of this story?

    The film is set in a new outbreak with new heroes, in a new city. So it's not a direct adaptation of one of the previous games, but it does fit into the cannon of the storyline. It takes place between the Fortune City outbreak in Dead Rising 2 and Los Perdidos outbreak from Dead Rising 3. So it's a part of the greater franchise narrative. Of course some familiar faces show up as well.

    Which characters can we expect to see in the film?

    I can't reveal too much, but the character has covered wars, you know...

    How does making a "digital feature" differ from making a traditional features. Are there any advantages or disadvantages? Things you couldn't do on the big screen?

    Obviously the budget will be smaller, so that presents some challenges in scope, but with less money comes great freedom. Online there is no ratings board, there is no run time limit, there are no rules. This is an experiment for Legendary, and they have been incredibly willing to take creative risks. Every crazy idea I've had has been met with excitement, and I'm sure that would be a different story if this was 100 million dollar film. People shouldn't expect a Micheal Bay scale epic, but it will be one of the coolest digital films made to date.

    What would you say to Dead Rising fans skeptical they're getting a digital feature rather than a theatrical one?

    I have a feeling that if this was the 100+ million dollar version, it would star Tom Cruise and be watered down. The more money you spend, the greater the audience you have to please. This film is being made for the fans and that's possible because it's a digital feature. It's being shot in Vancouver with the help of the Vancouver Capcom team that made games. We even have 2 Xboxes in the office. Someone is always running around putting pylons on heads while we are trying to have meetings. I'm a fan of the game, and I'm excited by how much of the world we've been able to cram in.

    With the budget and tone of the games, how would you describe the level of violence and impact of it? Is more Dead Alive or The Walking Dead?

    It's closer to Dead Alive. It's pretty hard to wade through a room with a katana and chainsaw without getting blood on your shoes. It will have the equivalent to an R rating.

    You mention freedom in doing something different with the digital format. Will the running time be longer than a theatrical zombie film? I know it's also being released episodically in other territories — is that something that was planned into the script? (Like how television handles cliffhanger commercial breaks.)

    The film is built to be consumed in different ways depending on the platform. On Crackle it will appear as one long 90 minute film, on other platforms it will be episodic. We've come up with a script mechanic that naturally breaks up each episode, but it won't be jarring as a continuous piece if you binge watch it. I think in this day and age you basically have to just let the viewer decide what they prefer.

    Dead Rising video game

    Here is what was previously known about the Dead Rising digital feature:

  • Mortal Kombat: Legacy producer Tim Carter wrote the script, which "revolves around a zombie outbreak, and the pursuit of the root of the epidemic when a government vaccine fails to stop the infection."
  • The movie will start shooting on September 30th in Vancouver.
  • The 90-minute digital feature film will premiere exclusively on Crackle in the US and will be distributed internationally in both episodic and feature format by Content Media Corp.
  • Dead Rising will also be released on SVOD, DVD, VOD and TV after its run on Crackle.
  • The Dead Rising video game series is set during an epic zombie outbreak. Here is the official description from Capcom:

    Dead Rising follows the harrowing tale of Frank West, a freelance photojournalist after the scoop of a lifetime. In a small suburban town that's overrun by zombies, he escapes to the local shopping mall, thinking it will be safe. Now it's a standoff, with zombies unable to get Frank, but him unable to get out & escape. Fortunately, he's got an entire mall at his disposal. Utilize everything you can find to fight off the flesh-hungry mob and search for the truth behind the horrendous epidemic.

    The game allowed players to control Frank as he explored the mall, using any available object as a weapon. The sandbox game featured several endings, which one you got was dependent on the decisions the player made during the story.