army of the dead zombie tiger

Zombie tiger! That was the major takeaway from the latest Army of the Dead trailer, showcasing Zack Snyder’s upcoming horror movie on Netflix. Fans immediately seized onto the undead tiger, which was a nice left-field surprise element for the zombie genre. But another surprise element is how the tiger was created by the VFX team, and the unexpected connection it has to another Netflix title: Tiger King.

Netflix loves throwing in some corporate synergy between its original titles, but this latest tie-in with Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead came by accident. At a virtual panel for Justice Con (via Collider), producer Deborah Snyder revealed that the zombie tiger that shows up in Snyder’s horror movie is actually based on a famous tiger owned by another Netflix star, Carole Baskin of Tiger King fame.

Collider writes, “According to Snyder, the visual effects team called different animal sanctuaries in order to get a real-life reference for modeling and animating Valentine. The chosen candidate ended up being a tiger owned by Baskin, now internationally famous after the world got briefly distracted from the pandemic by following Baskin’s long-time feud with Joe Exotic on Tiger King.”

The outlet says that Snyder chose the tiger inspired by Baskin’s tiger before Tiger King was released and became a viral sensation for Netflix. “The team spent a week on Baskin’s sanctuary before the series revealed the threats and harassment campaigns between the rival exotic animal owners,” the report continues.

“At least they got out of there alive,” Deborah Snyder joked.

Here’s the movie’s official synopsis:

From filmmaker Zack Snyder (300, Zack Snyder’s Justice League), ARMY OF THE DEAD takes place following a zombie outbreak that has left Las Vegas in ruins and walled off from the rest of the world. When Scott Ward (Dave Bautista), a displaced Vegas local, former zombie war hero who’s now flipping burgers on the outskirts of the town he now calls home, is approached by casino boss Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada), it’s with the ultimate proposition: Break into the zombie-infested quarantine zone to retrieve $200 million sitting in a vault beneath the strip before the city is nuked by the government in 32 hours. Driven by the hope that the payoff could help pave the way to a reconciliation with his estranged daughter Kate (Ella Purnell), Ward takes on the challenge, assembling a ragtag team of experts for the heist. They include Maria Cruz (Ana de la Reguera), an ace mechanic and Ward’s old friend; Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick), a zombie killing machine; Marianne Peters (Tig Notaro), a cynical helicopter pilot; Mikey Guzman (Raúl Castillo), a go-for-broke influencer and Chambers (Samantha Win), his ride-or-die; Martin (Garret Dillahunt), the casino’s head of security; a badass warrior known as the Coyote (Nora Arnezeder) who recruits Burt Cummings (Theo Rossi), a slimy security guard; and a brilliant German safe cracker named Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer). Scott finds an unexpected emotional hurdle when Kate joins the expedition to search for Geeta (Huma S. Qureshi), a mother who’s gone missing inside the city. With a ticking clock, a notoriously impenetrable vault, and a smarter, faster horde of Alpha zombies closing in, only one thing’s for certain in the greatest heist ever attempted: survivors take all.

Army of the Dead arrives in select theaters on May 14 and on Netflix on May 212021.

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