The filmmaking community lost a true legend over the weekend. The Godfather of the zombie genre, George A. Romero passed away at the age of 77 on Sunday after losing his battle with cancer. He was gearing up to produce his latest zombie movie Road of the Dead before his passing and, the good news is that the movie is still moving forward with his longtime friend and collaborator Matt Birman. What's also pretty incredible is that Romero actually had finished screenplays for four other movies beyond Road of the Dead that hadn't entered production. Birman is now determined to finish them.
While speaking with IndieWire, Matt Birman, who served as a second unit director on George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and Land of the Dead, spoke a bit about the screenplays, but couldn't divulge much information. Reportedly, two of the movie are original projects and two of them are book adaptations. Only one of them, which is said to be a comedy movie, is going to involve zombies. Here's what Birman had to say about the screenplays and his plans for them.
"I will stop at nothing to get them made! For him and with him. He said to me, 'Let's get this done so we can get on to the other stuff!'"
For horror lovers, or lovers of cinema in general, it is great to hear that George A. Romero will still be making his mark after his death. As for what these four mystery screenplays are? Right now, we don't have much to go on, but maybe we'll get some more details on them in the near future. For now, all eyes are on Road of the Dead, which is the zombie flick that Romero was working on and Matt Birman is set to direct, which takes place in the world of Zombie NASCAR racers. The movie is going to try and secure financing at the upcoming Fantasia Film Fest and that is where the focus lies right now.
"George was very excited about the upcoming Fantasia Film Fest and market. He felt we were on our way to a greenlight and I still do."
Road of the Dead is said to be a Mad Max meets Rollerball zombie movie where trained zombies race for the entertainment of the wealthy in Ben-Hur style Nascar races. There was some uncertainty as to whether or not the movie was going to continue without George A. Romero, but there is no question now. As Matt Birman puts it, it is now a George Romero legacy film and, in a way, Romero will still be there with him.
"Road of the Dead now becomes a legacy film. We won't only be making the film for him, it will also be with him. He will be by my side and in my ear for the rest of my career, I have no doubt."
There is no definitive word on when Road of the Dead will arrive, but Matt Birman has a plan. Assuming they can secure financing, he is going to prep the movie in early 2018, shoot it next summer and try to have it out in time for Halloween next year. Then maybe he will get to work on one of the other mystery George A. Romero projects. We will be sure to keep you up to date as more information on Road of the Dead, or any of the other four movies, are made available.