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By Mike Watt | June 16, 2005

I’ve just spent a few chaotic hours at the CamOp office, watching Cameron and Chris and Jason slowly lose their minds over the course of endless phone calls, emails and instant messages. Cam and Jason have recently quit smoking—the added stress shows.

Cam tosses a cordless phone my way. I catch it, barely registering what it is. “Mike, can you call Russ Streiner about the ‘Zombie School’? Oh, and Kyra Schon? Let her know her tickets are on their way?”

“Sure,” I say. Then: “Uh, why me?”

“Because you know them better than we do,” Cam says.

“And you pronounce Kyra’s name right,” Jason adds.

So I make the phone calls. I’m happy to help, particularly as I watch the chaos etch into them.

Russ is on board to teach the volunteers the “Romero Zombie Walk”, but needs the details faxed over to his office in the morning. Kyra’s fine with the slight delay and seemed happy to have been included.

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting to hear confirmation from someone—anyone—about Tarantino, Wright and Pegg. The sticking point seems to be who is going to pay for their respective flights. Travel from the U.K., in particular, at such short notice is astronomical. The budget is tight for the charity event, Universal is concerned with their own L.A. premiere…

To kill the time, more phone calls are made—Limos are arranged for, Gino Crognale calls to confirm that Greg Nicotero’s prop limbs/heads/faces/fingers have all arrived safely. Cameron arranges to pick them up on his way home—whenever that will be. Additional phone-tag with the folks at Universal.

Then Cameron’s cell phone rings—adding to the cacophony in the office.

It’s Greg Nicotero.

Quentin Tarantino is on board.

“Edgar and Simon are really excited too,” Greg tells Cameron.

(To make things bigger, just this morning, Greg made the announcement official during an interview on 3WS, a Pittsburgh radio station, letting the city know that CamOp brought the entire heist—er, event—together.)

And the atmosphere finally lifts.

Travel arrangements are still up in the air, but at least the principals are stoked about the premiere. It means that Cam and company are on to something.

It’s a George Romero zombie movie—a long-awaited follow-up to his landmark series begun with “Night”—premiering in the city that he, in the minds of horror fans the world over—put on the map.

And for your money, you’re getting Romero himself. And Tom Savini. And Greg Nicotero. And Simon Pegg. And Edgar Wright. And Quentin f*****g Tarantino.

What? Not big enough?

I’ll let you know when God confirms. Rumor has it, he’s just as excited.

For more information, check out the Pittsburgh Premiere website.

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