While doing the promotional rounds for the 2005 version of "Assault on Precinct 13," I got the chance to ask "AP13" co-star John Leguizamo about his work on the upcoming George A. Romero zombie movie:
JOHN LEGUIZAMO ON "LAND OF THE DEAD:"
The story and his character:
Its the last of the quadrilogy of "The Dead" movies [from] George Romero, another icon of the 70s. I play a zombie killer with Simon Baker. Were like the working class men against the zombies. Its apocalyptic. The zombies have taken over and we have to get supplies to the humans. Its only corporate CEOs who get all the supplies and we work for them, so its very political. Its got a sense of humor to it, too, and action. Its very operatic. Its a big, ambitious movie for George Romero and I just hope it rocks.
Asked about choosing supporting roles over leading roles, Leguizamo said he prefers supporting roles. Theyre less time consuming and he doesnt drive himself crazy worrying about them as he does when hes the lead. Commenting on the type of scripts he receives and the supporting roles hes offered, Leguizamo said:
"Land of the Dead" that was an easy one too. That was a great, great written supporting best buddy to the lead [role]. It was great and I just jumped on that as soon as I could.
On the subject of whether Romero's zombies will be running in "Land of the Dead" like they did in the remake of "Dawn of the Dead:
No, no. Hes really against that. Hes offended by that. Hes half Cuban, hes from the Caribbean George Romero so he knows his zombies. Zombies came from the Caribbean, they came from West Africa, and theyre supposed to be the undead coming out of graves. Theyve got rigor mortis, theyre rotting. They cant run that fast.
On what George Romero's like on the set:
Oh, hes fun, man. Hes 68 years-old. Hes optimistic, fun, always joking, 65, chain smoking, coffee drinking, and just lighthearted, man. He just wants to play. Hes awesome.
Leguizamo's known for developing backstories for his characters. Did he develop one for his zombie killing character in "Land of the Dead" or was it pretty much just straight from the script:
That was a little more developed, but yeah, I had to create a backstory, too. But a lot was there. I improvised a lot there. I brought a lot more humor to that. He always has a little bit of a sense of humor going on anyway George. Thats what makes his zombie movies better than anybody elses. Theres a little political thing going on; theres a little satire going on. And I just tried to add a little backstory.
On whether "Land of the Dead" wraps up George A. Romero's zombie movies:
Yes. This one closes the chapter on the "Dead." Its a really ambitious flick, really ambitious. Its not just a zombie movie. Its action, its political, the characters are really well developed and apocalyptic. Theres really a lot going on. Its pretty amazing.