INT: The Spierig Brothers

The Arrow interviews The Spierig Bros

After shooting a slew of commercials and award-winning short films, Michael and Peter Spierig took the big plunge in the year 2000 and tackled their first feature film. The wild, gory, unique and fanboy acclaimed "Undead" was born.  With the zombie-fest having recently been acquired by Lions Gate Films for North American distribution, everybody will hopefully get to see this fun flick very soon! The Arrow recently had a chance to duke it out with the Aussie brothers and here's how the bout turned out.

ARROW: What are your favorite horror movies?

PETER: The Exorcist, Evil Dead 2.

MICHAEL: Night of the Living Dead, The Shining.

ARROW: How did the narrative for "Undead" originate? What was the spark?

PETER: We had made a trilogy of short zombie films called Attack of the Undead, Rampage of the Undead,and Massacre of the Undead.  We loosely based the feature around them.

ARROW: How was the film financed?

MICHAEL: Peter and I spent our life savings on the project, we had directed TV commercials for three years and saved all our money.

ARROW: Was getting the money via pre-sales with a distributor ever an option?

PETER: Not really. We wanted complete control over our first film and it was probably the only time we will ever have that.

ARROW: How long did the overall shoot take?

MICHAEL: 41 days main unit and 19 days second unit. Second unit was really just a smaller main unit.

ARROW: Did the script change a lot during the shoot to accommodate the budget?

MICHAEL: We knew what the budget was going to be from the very beginning. In pre-production, we would alter the script slightly to accommodate some of the budget limitations, but they would only be minor changes.

ARROW: How did you separate the directing duties between yourselves?

PETER: It’s a 50/50 split. Michael has a graphic design background, so he would spend more time on the design aspects of the film and I’ll spend more time operating the camera. But the writing, directing, editing, producing is all very much a collaboration.

ARROW: What was the hardest scenes you had to shoot?

PETER: The end scene involving a plane flight through clouds, that was tough. We spend a lot of time planning that 15 minute sequence. I created an animatic to show to the cast and crew exactly what we wanted so everyone had a clear understanding of what the scene was about. The sequence took over a year to animate and render.

ARROW: I heard you did the CGI effects on a laptop. Did you guys have any idea as to what you were doing when you started?

MICHAEL: We knew it was going to be a nightmare, we knew we didn’t have the resources to do it properly so we tried to prepare ourselves as much as possible for what lay ahead.  We didn’t expect the computers to crash as much as they did.  We were averaging about 15-20 crashes a day on all three computers.

ARROW: Lions Gate Films has just acquired the flick for North American distribution. Did they do a lot of their own editing? What changed when they took your baby home?

PETER: So far Lions Gate hasn’t touched a frame. We received an ‘R’ rating from the MPAA without having to cut anything. Hopefully the version we released in Australia will be the same version the North American audiences get to see.

ARROW: When can we expect to see Undead in video stores?

MICHAEL: I’m not sure when the DVD will be released in the US, a theatrical release is scheduled for next year. Australia will get the DVD early January, there’s lots of extras on the disc.

ARROW: What’s next on your plate? Is Undead Part 2 feasible?

PETER: We’ve been developing a project for some time now. It’s a horror film, different in tone to ‘Undead’, this one is more dramatic. Undead 2 might happen, it depends on if North American audiences respond well.

ARROW: When the flick was finally fully finished, what did you guys do to celebrate?

PETER: We are still working on the worldwide distribution every day.  It’s not fully finished yet.

I'd like to thank the Spierig Brothers for their time and for the fun ride that was "Undead". These dudes have got what it takes: talent, balls and a love for the genre and I can't wait to see what they do next. Bring it guys!

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