"Ed Wood-style" film about Night of the Living Dead in development | Pittsburgh City Paper

"Ed Wood-style" film about Night of the Living Dead in development

click to enlarge Two framed, black and white photos of Night of the Living Dead hang on a wall.
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Archival Night of the Living Dead photos at the Living Dead Museum in Monroeville, Pa.
Ed Wood remained a relatively obscure figure in cinema until filmmaker Tim Burton made him a household name with his Oscar-winning biopic, which followed the Hollywood outsider from his early days to directing Plan 9 from Outer Space, long considered the worst movie ever made. An iconic horror film shot in the Pittsburgh area will get the same treatment in a developing new project.

Greg Nicotero, the producer, director, and special make-up effects supervisor best known for his work on The Walking Dead television series, has teamed up with producer Jimmy Miller on a feature about the making of Night of the Living Dead. The project was announced in a July 21 article on the website Deadline.

NOTLD has received its share of documentaries, including the 2012 film Birth of the Living Dead, which featured interviews with late writer/director George A. Romero. Unlike those films, however, the project from Nicotero and Miller will take a more narrative spin on how Romero and his team banded together to make what would go on to become one of the most influential horror movies of all time.

“What I want to do is an Ed Wood-style movie that shows the heart and character of this guy, with the backdrop this Magnificent Seven version of a bunch who had no fucking idea of what they were doing, getting together to make Night of the Living Dead," Nicotero told Deadline.

This is clearly a passion project for Nicotero, a Pittsburgh native who worked on the 1985 NOTLD sequel Day of the Dead, and other Romero films. He explains how he has taken celebrity friends like actor Simon Pegg and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino on tours of NOTLD sites, including the Evans City cemetery seen in the film's opening. He also details what made the NOTLD production process worthy of its own film, the "antics on the set and Romero’s eccentric tics," as well as the choice to cast a Black actor in the heroic lead role (something nearly unheard of in the late 1960s, when the film was shot).

Deadline reports that Nicotero and Miller are producing and are working on the project with Romero’s widow, Suzanne DesRocher-Romero.

If the project does get off the ground, local horror fans will surely offer up their dream casting choices for Romero and other cast and crew members like Tom Savini, the charismatic make-up effects artist who got his start working on NOTLD.