June 1, 2009

Zombie version of ‘Romeo’ set for fest

The horror/classic literature mash-up Romeo & Juliet vs. The Living Dead is to have its world premiere at the Edinburgh Film Festival, Third Star Films said.

The independently made romantic comedy is to screen June 26 at the 63rd annual festival in Scotland.

The Shakespeare parody is the debut movie of director Ryan Denmark, who has worked the last six years as Spike Lee's associate editor on films such as Inside Man and Miracle at St. Anna.

The idea for the film is Juliet, of noble Capulet birth, falls in love with Romeo, a zombie, and hilarity ensues. That only goes so far, Denmark said in a statement. We needed more or it was going to be a one-gag show.

The filmmaker said that to him, Shakespeare's tragedy is a parable about how hatred consumes everything around it.

However, it has also spawned a worship of hysterical juvenile love, Denmark added. "For that reason, the play has a lot in common with 1980s teen romance films. So when we approached the script we were influenced by films like 'Valley Girl' and 'Pretty in Pink.' We expanded the character of Mercutio to create a love triangle and away we went.

Everything flowed from there, including our answer to the problematic question everyone asks, 'If Romeo is already dead, how does he kill himself?' The film is a romantic comedy, but you know, with zombies.