What made you decide to take on this project?
I thought it would really be fun to do zombies again. I always liked zombies, they're my friends. It's fun because I don't have the opportunity to do it because the copyrights are broken up in many ways. I'm actually hoping to work with Constantine Films, they have the rights to Resident Evil, the original game. They want to make a movie from that game. So just three weeks before I got the call on this job I was talking to them about the feature. So that's partly why I wanted to do this job.
Were you allowed much freedom on this commercial?
Well yes, within the boundaries of the story line they had worked out which is based on the game.
So, you created the story.
Again, based on the game story. It was pretty obvious because they needed to see certain things. They needed to see the outside of the building, that it was an old jail. It's not exactly creative writing, but it's literally like making a little movie, a little zombie movie.
Do you think that viewers will be able to recognize that it's George Romero in the 30 seconds of air time?
I doubt it!
Is that a concern?
That's not a concern of mine.
Does it strike you odd that the reported 1.5 million dollar budget on this commercial is the same budget as on Dawn of the Dead twenty years ago.
I think that this is the biggest budget I've had on a second to second basis.
How long has it been since you made a commercial?
Oh, God. Since way before Night (of the Living Dead), I guess. Oh no, after Night we were still doing a few things, but it's been years, maybe twenty-five years. I've only been doing narrative. But this is great! I'm flattered that they called me up.
Do you think that doing commercials is a step back for you?
Oh, I don't think so. This is a larky thing. I just wanted to do it to come out and have some fun with zombies again. I think that they invited me to do it to get some publicity out of it.
Are there any Japanese directors you feel an affinity with?
Well, not really. I live in Pittsburgh so we don't get a lot of Japanese films. But I grew up on Kurosawa. I love that stuff, Rashomon, Seven Samurai, for example. I thought that Dreams was a beautiful film.
Do you find it surprising that in a culture so different as Japan your work is appreciated?
My films are garish, they are very comic booky and they've got a morality. I think that maybe that's where the connection comes from.
Do you think, then, that truth is universal?
I think it is. I mean--I think it's got to be. If you put the hundred greatest pieces of art in a room, they would come from all over the world. Not that Dawn of the Dead is a great piece of art. (Laughs)