(Originally posted in 2002 on DARKWORLDS.COM)
During a recent appearance at the 2002 Fangoria Weekend of Horrors in LA, director George Romero (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE DARK HALF, BRUISER) consented to a lengthy interview with Darkworlds, video excerpts of which will soon be available on this site. Having already discussed THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON, Romero’s upcoming collaboration with Stephen King, in this excerpt the director provides details on other upcoming projects and talks about his involvement during the early stages of the RESIDENT EVIL film. (Interview for Darkworlds conducted by Greg Stacy.)
DW: Can you tell us what you’re working on right now?
Romero: I have another zombie film in the works, I have the script finished. I think we’re real close to a financing deal on that.
DW: Can you tell us anything about what it’s about? (Romero looks uncomfortable.) Obviously, you don’t want ALL the secrets to get out there.
Romero: No. Well, basically, people are holed up, in a city this time, in a section of a city. And they’re trying to lead a normal life (amid the zombie attacks), which is of course impossible. And the heroes are the guys that they send out in these armored vehicles to procure things, you know, (to) get some wine. (NOTE: The film Romero is discussing was of course eventually released as LAND OF THE DEAD.)
DW: You’re very strongly associated with the horror genre. Have you ever been interested in doing something more mainstream, a drama or a comedy or something like that?
Romero: I’d love to do other things. I came real close, last year. I was working on a thing with Ed Harris (THE TRUMAN SHOW, POLLOCK). Ed got me involved. It was called THE ASSASSINATION; it was this political thriller about the assassination of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. It was great, it was all set to go. Ed was going to be in it, James Coburn (was going to be in it), we had Anthony Quinn. And then Anthony Quinn… went away (Quinn died) and the project sort of blew up on us. They were insisting that the role of Trujillo be played by a Latino, and there aren’t a lot of 71-year old Latino actors that have any meaning on the marquee. They just said they weren’t able to find a reasonable replacement for him. But it’s still sort of in the film miasma, it might still happen.
We were ready to roll. I spent five weeks in Puerto Rico scouting, getting it all together, the designers were on (the project) already. Things blow up for a million different reasons, (such as) somebody just doesn’t like what you do. That’s what happened with RESIDENT EVIL. I was having a ball with that.
DW: That’s right, you were attached to the RESIDENT EVIL film for a while. We would have loved to have seen what you would have done with that.
R: You can read it, apparently. People tell me that my screenplay is on the web. I wrote seven drafts for those guys.
DW: What happened with that?
R: It’s a long story. This was a German company, and there was a little bit of a language problem. The executive I was working with loved what I was doing, but the man upstairs was the guy who made DAS BOOT, and he had some vision of making some realistic suspense movie. That’s not eventually what they did, but he just didn’t like what I did in the end, and they said forget about it. And they got Paul (Anderson).