Plus Selena Gomez, Daniel Craig, Rosie Perez, and Chloë Sevigny as either the undead or their victims.
How do you know when a particular subgenre or storyline has run its course? The box office is a simple answer. When there were no more butts in the seats, the Western dried up. There are many detractors waiting for that particular flatline with superhero films, but Avengers keep swimming in pools of cash.
Zombie cinema must be reaching its end. The Walking Dead doesn’t rule the TV like it once did, and we’ve already seen the undead reinterpreted for YA rom-coms (Warm Bodies) and Christmas musicals (festival favorite Anna and the Apocalypse). Surely, there is no more meat on the bone with these rotting cretins.
Not so fast. Someone still has something to say. The Film Stage is reporting that Jim Jarmusch is in the process of shooting a zombie movie in upstate New York. Wait, it gets better. Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Selena Gomez, Chloë Sevigny, and Austin Butler have all been eyed on set. WTF — YES! Oh, there is more. Daniel Craig and Rosie Perez have also been named as part of the cast. Hell, yeah. I can barely contain myself with this one.
The film has been filming under the title Kill the Head, but the final moniker might be slightly different. Earlier this year, Murray revealed to the Philadelphia Inquirer that the film would actually be titled The Dead Won’t Die:
“I’ve got a good job coming up. Brace yourself: It’s a zombie movie. Jim Jarmusch has written a zombie script that’s so hilarious and it has a cast of great actors: Rosie Perez, Daniel Craig. It’s titled ‘The Dead Don’t Die,’ and it shoots over the summer. But, no, I will not play a zombie.”
The mind reels at this information. While Jim Jarmusch came up onto the scene with indie darlings like Down by Law and Mystery Train, the director is no stranger to genre cinema. He’s mucked about with the Western for Dead Man, mixed gangsters with samurai in Ghost Dog, peeked into the mind of a hitman for The Limits of Control, and lounged with vampires in Only Lovers Left Alive. They’re not the type of films to fill AMC multiplexes, but for the certain kind of weirdo filmgoer, Jarmusch’s movies are the cinematic equivalent to a musical earworm.
Jarmusch crafts movies that infect. They work their way into your system, and once you’ve caught the virus, they are impossible to shake. He’s absorbed all the same references that folks like Tarantino and Scorsese devoured in their education, but how he reinterprets them is utterly original. He is a master of pace, allowing his actors to breathe in their given space, and forcing his audience to sit in stillness. The Jarmusch experience is a contemplative one, but not without room for both sharp and silly humor.
A Jarmusch zombie comedy makes sense. Don’t expect another Zombieland, but it is easy to imagine what the environment might be if you take a film like Coffee and Cigarettes and just add brain-eaters. The film is bound to find the comedy in the mundane filtered through the apocalypse. With talents like Driver and Murray involved, there should be plenty of thematic meat to devour.