Zack Snyder reveals what heist movies inspired Army of the Dead.
Releasing shortly his four-hour director's cut of Justice League on HBO Max, Netflix's Army of the Dead will be Snyder's first cinematic project outside of the DC Extended Universe since Sucker Punch in 2011. Army of the Dead will also be Snyder's second film centered around the living dead after his directorial debut Dawn of the Dead, a 2004 remake of George A. Romero's 1978 classic.
Starring Guardians of the Galaxy's Dave Bautista, Army of the Dead follows a ragtag group of mercenaries who are tasked with stealing $200 million from a vault underneath the Las Vegas strip. However, the city is overrun by zombies and the government is prepared to nuke the entire city in 32 hours to get rid of them. Bautista's Scott Ward leads a team of mercenaries that includes his daughter Kate Ward (Ella Purnell) and expert zombie killers played by Ana de la Reguera, Omari Hardwick, Garett Dillahunt, Matthias Schweighöfer, and Tig Notaro. Army of the Dead has previously been teased as "Ocean’s 11 with zombies" and now Snyder himself is revealing some additional heist movies that acted as inspiration.
Snyder recently made a second virtual appearance at Justice Con, this time to solely discuss his forthcoming film Army of the Dead. As a horror movie, it is inspired by Aliens, The Thing, Planet of the Apes, and Escape From New York, but Snyder discussed how Army of the Dead is unique in the sense that it is both a zombie and a heist movie. When asked what heist movies in particular had an influence on Army of the Dead, Snyder responded:
The ones that have really gotten me are like Italian Job and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and of course, Ocean's. You can't make a zombie heist film set in Vegas or a heist film set in Vegas and not have some Ocean's reference, especially in a movie that's making other movie references, and it's subtle and we try not to go completely nuts, but it is what it is.
Based on Snyder's response, it seems Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's trilogy starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon has had a heavy influence on Army of the Dead. Like Ocean's Eleven, which was followed by two sequels and a spinoff in 2018, Snyder is hoping to start a successful film franchise of his own with Army of the Dead. A prequel movie centered around Matthias Schweighöfer's character, who also directs the film, titled Army of Thieves, has already wrapped filming and will also be released on Netflix. Therefore, Army of the Dead might not be the last time audiences see Bautista and crew in action.
So far, all signs point to Army of the Dead not being a traditional zombie film. Snyder has already discussed how the film will be an amalgam of heist and zombie movies, but will also feature smarter zombies, an estranged father-daughter relationship at the heart of it, and also be more political than people expect. But Snyder heavily drawing from the Ocean's movies suggests that Army of the Dead will be a fun flick above all else when it releases on Netflix next month.