Shawn Roberts talks about starring in his second George A. Romero film.
Shawn Roberts has found a niche in the horror genre alongside one of the genre's master filmmakers: George A. Romero. Roberts is starring in Romero's latest effort, Diary of the Dead, in which a group of film students encounter some real zombies while attempting to make a horror film of their own. I had the chance to talk with this talented young actor, and here's what he had to say:
This is your second George A. Romero film in a row. What drew you to his work?
Shawn Roberts: I don't know. It's just the work that draws me to the projects. George has become like family to me, so the comfortable and safe atmosphere that he creates definitely makes it a priority. However, the privilege of being a part of such influential films is definitely the icing on the cake.
The film is about a group of film students shooting a zombie movie when they run into some real zombies. What sort of research did you do for this part? Did you talk to film students? Watch a lot of zombie
Shawn Roberts: Before we started filming I got a chance to sit down and go over everything with George. We had about two weeks to sort out all the details and prepare for scenes that would be shot in one take, some of it being up to 7 pages. Most feature films shoot roughly that in an entire 12 hour day.
How would you best describe your character, Tony?
Shawn Roberts: My character Tony is the most reluctant of the group. While early footage of the dead coming back to life is being aired, he is the guy to denounce it all. But when faced with a zombie, there's no denying it. So, when push comes to shove...shoot 'em in the head.
It looks like there's an interesting voice cast of news readers like Stephen King, Wes Craven, Simon Pegg, Quentin Tarantino and Guillermo del Toro. Were any of them on the set while you were shooting, and, if so, do you have any good stories from them?
Shawn Roberts: They actually did those voice-overs over the phone. I have no stories. But I'm grateful for their contributions.
How far do you think George will take this "Dead" series of his? Has he talked about future installments?
Shawn Roberts: It's still too early to tell. I mean I've seen first hand his enthusiasm on set during the filming, and I'd say that there's no other place he'd rather be. And no other thing he'd rather be doing.
Shawn Roberts: It's always nice to be able to show your friends and family what it is that you do. I've had their support from the beginning and wouldn't be here without it, so yeah, I do whatever I can to be there with them when they go to see it. And this weekend will be no different. It's gonna be a riot!
Now that the strike is over, is there anything you're looking to actively pursue? Or anything that might be back on now that the writers are back?
Shawn Roberts: I've been keeping busy creating some of my own projects these days, taking on the role of both writer and producer. It's been a nice change to take on something like that from a different perspective.
Finally, how does Diary of the Dead stack up amongst Romero's impressive library?
Shawn Roberts: So far this has been the best reviewed film of his career. If that doesn't say where it stacks up, I don't know what else I can add.
Diary of the Dead hits the theaters on February 15.