Behind the Scenes: ‘American Revenant,’ Hannibal’s Zombie Movie [Video]
Hannibal's Central Park was the gathering site Saturday morning of a horde of the undead. The shot zombie movie American Revenant shot scenes in the Central Park area, and will continue to film at locations around Hannibal for the next couple weeks. John Davis, the author of the American Revenant series of books, and film director Josh Mullner took a moment to speak with us about their project.
"The American Revenant movie is a short film based on the first book of the American Revenant series, Hometown Exodus, said Davis. "The script was adapted for film by the director, Josh Mullner. It is our hope that the movie will draw readers to the book series, while at the same time thrilling viewers with a dramatic tale of the fight for survival in the early days of the zombie apocalypse in Hannibal."
Creating a short film adaptation of American Revenant came about after Davis and Mullner met through a mutual friend. "Josh read the books and he and I discussed various options available to us. After reading Josh’s script I knew that the project would be amazing."
It's also been hard work. The lead actor in American Revenant is Hannibal native Nick Louderman, who plays the main character, Dean Fletcher. Louderman says that Saturday's shoot is his second day of filming. "The last day I filmed was at the end of July," said Louderman, "and that was a 13-and-a-half hour fight scene." Louderman says that he quickly learned that even though movie fighting isn't real, filming fight scenes still hurts. "It's a lot of work. The wear and tear, it's real."
Deena Budd West, Jamie Grove and Stephanie Verser were among the volunteers who stepped up to play zombies in American Revenant. None of them had ever acted in a movie before. "I've always wanted to be a zombie since I saw the original Night of the Living Dead in the 60s," said West. Verser said she'd always wanted to try acting. "I did drama in school, and it just was a double whammy when it was acting and zombies because I love them both." Grove says she also has "a huge zombie passion."
American Revenant shooting will continue for at least one additional weekend. Davis and Mullner hope to have the movie finished by late September or early October. Davis says that they are investigation screening options for the public. "We are working with a couple of local theaters to see if we can set up a showing or two, as well as a book signing on the day of the film’s release. Once we have the film released locally, we will have it on YouTube for everyone around the world to see. We have taken into consideration that there may be folks who want to own a copy and are looking into having DVD’s made available for sale. The thought of showing at film festivals is there, and it is something we may look into as the project moves forward."