The visual effects team for Army of the dead deserves an award.
Army of the dead finally released on Netflix, and as a fan of ride-or-die zombie movies, I enjoyed every second of it.
And like all Zack Snyder movies, I love hearing about his directing process and how he brought his vision to the screen.
Good, Army of the dead presented one challenge in particular that Zack and Debbie Snyder hadn’t anticipated during the filming of the film: They would have to digitally add Tig Notaro months after filming was finished.
Originally, Chris D’Elia played Peters, the helicopter pilot, but after several allegations of sexual misconduct in June 2020, the Army of the dead The team made the decision to remove D’Elia from the film.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Zack said it was a “fairly easy” decision to remove D’Elia entirely, but it was a “costly decision”. Although he did not give an exact figure, Zack said the covers had cost “a few millions.”
The millions of dollars spent by Netflix were used to digitally erase D’Elia from all footage, resume shots with Tig Notaro, and create visual effects. And, on top of all that, there have been recoveries during the coronavirus pandemic.
Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, with Tig being immunocompromised – she is a cancer survivor – and how advanced post-production was already, Tig actually filmed all of her scenes completely on her own.
In fact, Dave Bautista – who directs the film as Scott Ward – still hasn’t met Tig, even though they’ve shared many scenes together in Army of the dead.
So what ended up happening was Zack and the visual effects team replicated the camera angles and “physical spaces” of the original. Army of the dead scenes in a studio in California, so that Tig could fit into the film as perfectly as possible.
Because not only did Tig have to film all of the big Peters scenes, but she also had to film all the little moments where she’s just in the background.
With D’Elia completely edited – instead of Tig’s performance just glued to his own – Tig had a little more “freedom” to move around, which made everything feel more natural.
Also, Tig couldn’t add lines. His dialogue had to be word for word what D’Elia was saying, because the reactions of the other characters were already recorded.
Zack explained that some of the “trickier shots” to recreate were actually when Tig’s character was walking with others, and that involved a lot of post-production work.
There was only one scene Tig filmed with another actor. Ana de la Reguera has come to bed for a “half day,” just to film a moment when Maria drives Peters to the helicopter.
And all of their hard work has paid off. Even before Army of the dead was released, Tig was all the rage on Twitter just from his moment in the trailer.
Watching Army of the dead now I can’t imagine it without Tig Notaro and his hilarious comedic timing.
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