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NIGHT OF THE ANIMATED DEAD Interview: Josh Duhamel (exclusive)

We talk to the amazing Josh Duhamel about his role in the animated adaptation of Night of the Living Dead!

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Well, it’s almost Halloween. It’s almost time for way too many sweets, dressing up, and plenty of horror movies. There’s still a bit of time before Halloween officially hits but may have a pretty movie that’ll ease you into the spooky season. George Romero’s classic, Night of the Living Dead has entered the animated world with a brand new retelling filled with gore, zombie-action and plenty of screams. Night of the Animated Dead is available digitally now and will be ready on physical from October 4th. To celebrate the upcoming release, we spoke to Transformers and Jupitar Legacy star Josh Duhamel about his upcoming role as Harry Cooper. You can check out our full chat below where we discussed all things horror, voice acting and zombies.

I’ve been a huge Transformers fan for a while since before the first movie came out. It is an absolute pleasure to be talking to you. So today is all about Night of the animated dead which is an animated adaptation of George Romero’s. 1968 Classic. And you’re playing Harry Cooper, would you be able to just tell us where we find Harry in this animated nightmare

we first find him in this house that they happen upon, and then they find out that Harry is down in the basement with his wife and his kids. And you know, I thought it was a pretty interesting sort of twist. Somebody’s down the basement the whole time they’re up there and ultimately, this guy is pretty despicable in a lot of ways. But he is also a guy who’s trying to get through the night like they are and doing whatever he can to protect himself and his family. And so, it’s a fascinating film. You know, it’s the original zombie film! and there’s this helpless feeling that you have watching it, but there’s nothing that they can do to stop this never-ending onslaught of the walking dead, you know, so I don’t know, I found it to be much scarier than I expected.

Yeah, definitely. Have you watched the Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead?

Yeah, I have. I hadn’t seen it for years. But I watched it again before we started shooting and recording. A lot of times, you’re just like ” No, just run. Keep going”. You can’t help but to tell him or to scream at the TV, like “you got to keep moving, and walking”. But it’s just this feeling. It’s like a nightmare. You know, it’s like this nightmare where they just cannot get away, you can’t move fast enough, you can’t trip and you shouldn’t trip, your car gets stuck, you know, all these things that just get in the way.

I watched the original afterwards, I’m not a huge horror fan, I get scared very easily. So, I watched it afterwards and it was just really interesting to see the parallels between the two and how it was actually adapted. So, did you draw upon anything from the original that helped you bring your very own Harry Cooper to life?

To be honest, I remember watching it before we started recording it. But I hadn’t really, I don’t know if I took anything from the original or not. I just tried to play it as real as I knew how with the stakes being as high as they were and just trying to find the truth in that and not necessarily taking from the original, but just trying to play the real and work with what was in front of me in the script.

I think you touched upon it before, you know, just this idea of just this Carnage and running, screaming, just essentially running from the undead. What was it like getting in that frame of mind for recording?

I just think that, you know, like, like any job is trying to create the scenario, this imaginary scenario that you’re working within, and I think that, you know, I just imagined being in this house, knowing that they were all around. Knowing that I’ve got my family down in the cellar. And trying to convince these people who also happen upon this house to go to the safest spot and it became like this sort of situation within this house knowing that there was something even more imposing outside trying to get in. And that was really what I’ve worked on, which is trying to, you know, create this scenario realistically in my own mind.

I imagine it’s somewhat difficult, especially when you’re not in the action to envision that around you and really try to immerse yourself in that sort of situation or to put yourself in Harry’s shoes.

Yeah, you know, that’s always a challenge. Especially on something like this, you don’t have an actual set for actual actors around you, or any of the things that would help you believe it all. You just have to kind of create the whole thing in your head and sound as realistically awful as you can.

Looking at the zombie genre as a whole because Romeo’s version is one of the classics. What do you think it is about the undead that has allowed them to survive in popular culture for so long? I mean, zombies are never going to go away, not anytime soon.

You know, I just think that there’s this helpless feeling that you have like, Oh my god, what would you do? Knowing that they’re not sprinting at you. They’re not like super creatures that can fly or have super speed or super strength. They just never stop coming. I think that there’s something about that undeniable sort of, you know, forward motion that they have that there’s something terrifying it almost brings to life some of our worst nightmares. I think that’s what it touches on and that’s probably why they’ve been around so long. The zombie genre itself is like a zombie. It never dies.

No matter how many times you shoot it, it just does not go down. I think it’s going to be like that for a while. Did you have any favourite zombie movies or something that stuck with you in horror?

Oh, I’m like you. I’m not a huge horror fan. But my favourite movies like this would be The Shining. That’s probably my favourite all time scary movie. Probably because it’s Kubrick, Jack Nicholson and Stephen King. It’s just the perfect combination. The perfect storm. I just love that movie.

Are you ready to meet the cast? Night of the Animated Dead includes Josh Duhamel (Harry Cooper), Dulé Hill (Ben), Katharine Isabelle (Barbara), James Roday Rodriguez (Tom), Katee Sackhoff (Judy), Will Sasso (Sheriff McClelland), Jimmi Simpson (Johnny) and Nancy Travis (Helen Cooper).

Prepare to face the undead in this reimagined version of Romero’s haunting classic. Grab your digital copy from September 21st or the DVD & Blu-Ray from October 4th. Will you be checking out Night of the Animated Dead? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


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