How did you become involved with “Diamond Dead”? ^ Some years ago, a friend of mine sent me the original script by Brian Cooper and I just thought it was hysterical and different. I just loved it and thought it was nutty enough for me to jump in.
How did this team of yourself, George Romero and Richard Hartley come together? ^ Well, Richard is an old friend of mine and he’d steadfastly refused to get involved in a rock ‘n’ roll film until I convinced him to read this script and his reaction was the same as mine and he decided to jump right in. It’s a bit of a coup to get Richard. I’ve known George for years.
Why is this the right time for “Diamond Dead”? ^ I don’t think there’s anything like it out there. It’s just so different. It’s a lot of fun. My urge and everybody else’s involved with it is so strong. We all believe in it. It’s the film we want to make and we think there’s a pretty good audience out there for it.
How did the heavy Internet presence come about? ^ I’ve always believed that we want to make a film for an audience and I’ve always respected fans enormously and since George Romero and Richard Hartley both have such big followings I thought that we should create a web presence where we could give fans an inside look at how we go about getting a film made for better or worse. So, we had this idea and Cameron Romero, who’s George’s son, designed and created this website and it seems to have taken off. I’ve always wanted to do something like that and it’s just evolved over time. It’s a pretty busy site.
Has the “Diamond Dead” website been useful to the production in a practical way? ^ Yes, interestingly enough we’ve been getting quite a few good ideas from fans – not everyone – some are sort of nutty, but there are some very good suggestions. I like to read everything and take every opinion into account. Some of it is helpful and I think it will continue to be helpful as we get into casting.
Is dealing with fans and the website ever more trouble than it’s ultimately worth? ^ No, we all actually enjoy doing it. Richard and George enjoy doing it. If anything, we’re just going to make it bigger and better. It’s quite intriguing and it’s a lot of fun.
Many of the people posting questions and suggestions on the website seem to be involved in B-movies as either rabid genre fans or as filmmakers shooting micro-budget straight to video movies. Have you found that there’s a shortsightedness (almost prejudice) on their part especially in regard to budget and casting? ^ In the scheme of movie budgets, I don’t think ours is a high budget. And I think we all just want to stay true to the story. It’s a fine line. We’re trying to cast it in a way that is right for the film and we also have to be aware of the economics of it. That’s always a dilemma.
How does the creative team decide which suggestions are worth following up on? ^ I’m trying to keep track of the good ideas and categorize them. Most of them are casting related. So when the time is right, the plan is to pull out all the ones that make sense and we’ll get together and have a chat.
Who has the final word on the creative elements and how does the team avoid the “art by committee syndrome”? ^ Well, George is the director so it’s important to respect his vision and be true to the story. We get along so well. Everybody is sort of a family. We all have our say about certain things and it just seems to work. We reach consensus pretty easily, at least so far.
Do you anticipate other filmmakers following the “Diamond Dead” example and will the big studios also try to copy the formula? ^ I don’t know. Without treading on anybody’s toes, I really think you have to be very careful in how you handle fans. A lot of movies I think sort of act “high and mighty” – they don’t put themselves on the same level as the fans. They talk down to them and that’s something that we want to avoid. I respect all our fans and I put us on an equal basis with them. Whether someone else has that kind of temperament, I don’t know. I’ve not seen that much evidence of it. I would imagine that if “Diamond Dead” is successful, everyone will want to follow up.
The interview continues in part three of ANDREW GATY: ROCK ‘N’ ROLL ZOMBIES FOR THE FUTURE>>>