‘Army of the Dead’: Zack Snyder Sent Hundreds of Extras to ‘Zombie School’

Stunt teams were assigned to teach extras how to move and act like the undead

Army of the Dead Dave Bautista Zack Snyder

It’s not easy becoming a zombie. For hundreds of extras that appeared in Zack Snyder’s “Army of the Dead,” rigorous training at “Zombie School” was required to learn how to act like the undead.

In a new interview with the Boston Herald, Snyder and his wife and producing partner, Deborah Snyder, said that about 200 extras were involved in the shooting of the Netflix film “Army of the Dead,” which follows a mercenary team that gets a job to steal $200 million from a Vegas casino overrun by zombies before a nuclear strike destroys the quarantined city.

“For the hordes of zombies we had Zombie School, where the stunt team, who already knew how to move like a zombie, would teach 200 extras,” she said. “They didn’t have the training that the stunt people did, so we had to train them how to move and act like a zombie.”

The zombie genre has been mined for every subversion imaginable since George A. Romero popularized it with “Night of the Living Dead” over 50 years ago. But Zack Snyder said it was fun to put his own spin on it.

“The fun of the zombie genre is that the audience is ahead of you,” he said. “Like, you could ask a lot of people, ‘How do you kill zombies?’ ‘Shoot ’em in the head.’ ‘What if you get bit by a zombie, do you become a zombie?’ ‘Absolutely.’”

“People know. So that’s the fun of it,” Snyder went on. “In a lot of ways it’s like making a Western or something like that. There are certain things and those are the rules you have to do. You have to deconstruct and subvert expectations. Right when you think it’s one way, you’ve got to take them that way.”

No word on whether the Snyder Zombie School was anything like Dianne’s acting class in “Shaun of the Dead.”

“Army of the Dead” is now playing in select theaters and will be released on Netflix this Friday.


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