It's been quite a long time since we've heard anything on the long-gestating adaptation of the popular 90's video game "Zombies Ate My Neighbors", with our first (and only) report on it coming way back in February of 2011 when news on the adaptation was first announced. It seems the film had fallen into Development Hell and many were wondering when, or even if, we'd ever see the project come to fruition. But now, years later, we've gotten word from writer John Darko that the project isn't dead yet (it's, uh...UN-dead. Damn, that's a horrible pun!) and we've got some early preliminary artwork to share with you below! Read on.
It was rumored by inside sources that the film adaptation of the successful videogame was associated with Lucasarts, then moved to Lucasfilm, and then Disney, and while that can't be confirmed at this time, what is known is that producers are now waiting for official development notes regarding the story. And now, in a recent chat with writer John Darko, some interesting updates on ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBORS have come to light. According to Darko...
The film pre-dates the events in the video game. We had to create an origin story to accompany the unexplained zombie apocalypse in ZAMN. I originally wrote the screenplay on "spec" for a friend (James Wan) to look at, this was around late 2009, and at the time this friend was busy with his next film (Insidious). So I hammered out the rest of the details and turned in a draft before production started on his film. I did this independently also with the hopes that George (LUCAS) would see it, and agree to turning over the rights for the story. The rest is viral history.
Darko shared that Wan is, unfortunately, no longer associated with the project. He also shared a little bit of what we can expect to see in the film, and touched on a couple of the biggest questions fans of the game want to know:
The question I get asked the most is: will Zeke and Julie be in the movie? and what about the giant baby? All I can say is... YES, well, kind of. Zeke and Julie will make an appearance, but the gigantic baby will have to wait for a sequel. You can't really throw the kitchen sink at audiences without a plausible origin story. The wackiness of the video game was something I loved, but turning all that into something watchable, and more importantly something we can understand and care about took some careful scripting.
When pressed for what the storyline of the film would be, Darko shared...
Zombies Ate My Neighbors is set in modern day, and will be centered around two high school buddies on the verge of graduation. Here, you'll have the classic John Hughes-esue coming-of-age story. We tried to focus more on the aspirations of our characters, and what happens to them when adulthood sets in. You got to think about college, a career, the people that you'll probably never see again, first loves, all that. Then things get messy on the eve of this huge graduation block party. And these kids sort of get to live out their secret ambitions of becoming adventurers by becoming the unlikely heroes of the story. We kept the mayhem contained to a small neighborhood, but as for those questions regarding Zeke, Julie, gigantic babies, etc. Think about what happens when a small virus goes global. And how the rest of the world would react to that..."
While Darko waits for the film to move forward, he has been busy with a new television series called "Nowheresville" which he claims is similar in tone to ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBORS but that it is 'insanely scary and outside the box'. "Nowheresville" will begin production before ZAMN goes before cameras with John R. Leonetti (director of MORTAL KOMBAT 2 and cinematographer on James Wan's THE CONJURING) directing and producing.
So what say you? Are you excited to hear that ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBORS is still a very real possibility? Spit bullets below and give us your thoughts. And check out the awesome early art for ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBORS below.