Unless you are a comic book aficionado with a taste for Italian artistry, you probably aren't too familiar with the character of Dylan Dog, a ghost busting, zombie fighting, werewolf loving P.I. who has headlined his own self-titled series since 1986. Very popular in his home country of Italy and created by Tiziano Sclavi, Dylan Dog first made his American debut in a series of English-language Dark Horse Comics adaptations in 1999. Now, he will be making his theatrical debut in a new film directed by Kevin Munroe, the man behind 2007's animated TMNT. Dead of Night is being produced by Gil Adler and Scott Mitchell Rosenberg from a script by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer. Production is currently underway in New Orleans with a release date set for 2010.
Brandon Routh, who found fame as the man of steel in Superman Returns, is the perfect embodiment of Sclavi's Dylan Dog and has even learned a bit of Italian in homage to the character. Looking very much like his inked counterpart, Routh is donning Dog's signature red dress shirt and jacket for what has been described as a Ghostbusters for this generation. Sam Huntington will play his sidekick Marcus, a character that is new to Sclavi's universe. And Anita Briem, first seen in Journey to the Center of the Earth, is Dog's dagger-wielding love interest Elizabeth. Though we can't spill too many beans about the script, Elizabeth is responsible for setting Dylan's latest investigation of the supernatural into motion. Along with Marcus, who has recently become a member of the living dead, they will have to fight mutant zombies, drooling werewolves, uppity vampires, and other various incarnations of the unknown.
We recently visited the New Orleans set of Dead of Night, where we not only got to watch Dylan Dog and Marcus in action as they fought a giant tattooed zombie, but where we also got to participate in the actual filming of this comedic action adventure as reanimated homeless flesh eaters. From sunrise to sunset, we were dressed as dirty, mud-covered corpses that had taken to a nearby abandoned factory for solace. Dylan and Marcus arrived on the scene, and were immediately thrown into a fist-fighting match with a hulking, mutated zombie that had imbibed in a bit of vampire blood. Like many of the monsters in the film, this massive creature of the night, tattooed with ancient, evil incantations, is a man in a prosthetic suit. Portrayed by Brian Steele, his massive jaw of shark teeth are as ferocious as his hulk-sized fists.
And, true to the nature of the comic book upon which this tale is based, he does a pretty good job of beating Dylan into a tired mass of flailing limbs.
Monroe, making his live-action directorial debut with Dead of Night, proved to be a tsunami-like force behind the camera. His crew was quite proficient in setting up one stunning shot after the next, and the motion of this fast moving train worked in capturing more action in a twelve-hour period than I have ever witnessed on any movie set. At the end of the day, they actually tossed Huntington, looking like a zombified member of the East Side Kids, off a railing hooked only to an old towline. Swinging above us, our group of living dead extras were allowed the opportunity to jump and snap at him with our teeth. We also got to eat the giant mutant zombie when all was said and done. It was quite the interesting experience. And the movie looks like a great throwback to a time when films were actually fun. Dylan has an almost Jack Burton-esque vibe about him. He is confident, yet quite skilled at getting his ass handed to him by the terrifying elements that surround his waking life.
In the very near future, we will be able to share quite a few more interesting stories from the set, along with interviews from Brandon Routh, Sam Huntington, and Anita Briem, as well as some very in-depth chats with director Kevin Monroe, producers Gil Adler and Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, stunt coordinator Eric Norris, and cinematographer Geoffrey Hall. There's some crazy business going down in New Orleans, and it's not happening on Bourbon Street. It is happening on the set of Dead of Night, one of the coolest looking comic book adaptations to come along in some time.