Tommy Wirkola has brought an awful lot of mayhem to the big screen in his short career. After his breakout hit "Dead Snow" he hit US shores with "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters". Now, he's back with a more Westernized version of his first film with "Dead Snow 2", about to be released in the US. Here's what he had to say recently when we sat down with him.
It's clear that "Dead Snow 2" is a little more Westernized than the original. How much was that a conscious effort during development?
It was, yeah. We simply would get a much wider release with doing that, meaning again that we could play around with a bigger budget. The inclusion of the zombie squad is naturally a part of this, but it didn't start out from a business point of view. We actually read about these guys (the ZS squad), and how they were training and preparing for a zombie outbreak, being sure that it is just a matter of time before it actually happens, and we thought: "Wow... is this for real? This is just too good to be true, and we need to put this in the movie".
My favorite part was watching the undead Russians take on the undead Nazis. How did that idea come about?
I knew that if we ever did a sequel to Dead Snow, it had to be bigger, badder, and crazier than the first one. I also knew I wanted to have a BIG finale. So, like in the first one, we just kept pulling from actual history when it comes to the north of Norway and WW2. We had a lot of Russian prison camps here, and the Russians were actually the ones liberating us, so it felt natural to include them somehow. And we kinda wanted to replicate WW2 with the Russians and the Germans going at each other, with the Americans, on foreign soil, being squeezed in the middle.
I loved the Martin Starr character. Did you have him in mind from the start?
Not when we wrote it, no. We knew we wanted someone with credibility in the geek environment, but didn't have anybody in mind in the early stages. It was Stig, my co writer, who suggested Martin, based on his love of Freeks and Geeks. As soon as that idea came up, we knew he would be perfect, as I was also a fan of that show growing up. And luckily he loved the script, and he was a joy to work with. The perfect nerd/zombie killer.
What's the latest on a Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters sequel? Is that still happening?
It is happening, but not as me as the director. I wrote the script, but will not be directing. I have a few other projects that I want to do instead.
Do you think we'll be seeing Dead Snow 3?
Hopefully, yeah. Let's see how this one does first, but yeah, it feels like this could be a trilogy.