Movie Talk

‘World War Z’ Special Effects Supervisor Studied Ants to Bring Zombies Up to Speed

Movie Talk

View photo

.

Zombies swarming like ants in Paramount Pictures' 'World War Z'.

Contrary to the belief of some rabid horror fans out there, zombies aren't real. (Go ahead, breathe a deep sigh of relief.)

That said, if zombies were real, there's a good chance they'd look and act a lot like they do in Brad Pitt's new zombie-pocalypse movie, "World War Z."

While that might seem like a ridiculous statement, when Oscar-winning special effects supervisor Scott Farrar explains how he and his team designed the creatures for the feature, it actually makes sense.

[Related: Where to Go to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? 'World War Z' Knows!]

Since the film unfolds in a docu-drama style, Farrar and his team tried to design the zombies by using inspiration from the natural world. "The beginning ideas were based on zombie behavior. If this were real, how would they act? What would they do? How would they approach their prey?" Farrar recently told Yahoo! Movies during a phone interview.

But while nature proved to be inspirational, "World War Z" zombies didn't necessarily take the form of human nature.

"We certainly were guided by the natural world, like ants and birds and flocks and herds and things. A lot of the early artwork was showing ants climbing; they chain together and if they have to try and get from the ground to something, they’ll climb all over each other to get to that," Farrar explained. "They do not care about one another. They’ll do anything to advance toward their targets."

This type of swarming behavior can easily be seen in our exclusive "World War Z" clip below:

Because of these animal instincts, the filmmakers decided to go with quick-moving zombies, as opposed to classic crawlers like those in George A. Romero's seminal zombie flick, "Night of the Living Dead" (1968).

"I think a major change in zombie behavior in this was if something were to bite you, well, you're still fresh, you're still able to move quickly. But now you don't think about yourself. You only think about where's my next bite, where's my next takedown. And you will run as fast as you can because you're still healthy, and you'll lead with your teeth to take the next human down," Farrar explained. "With no regard for your injuries or anything about you, you'll bite and hold on and do whatever you can to take that person down, even if you break your bones, even if you get hurt, even if it kills you, you don't care."

[Related: Meet the $50 'World War Z' Movie Ticket: Here's What You Get]

As "World War Z" definitely shows, a hungry zombie makes for an agile zombie. But for all you slow-moving-zombie purists out there, worry not. That's still part of the zombie life cycle.

"Then moving on through time, your zombie behavior would slow down because whatever this is, this virus or whatever is taking over you bit by bit, it kind of eats you up. And then you're gonna just rundown after a while, and then you become maybe somewhat stagnant. And the only way to wake you up again is if another human shows up."

While it's obvious that Farrar and his team have spent an insane amount of time studying zombie behavior, all of which pays huge dividends onscreen, it's still important to remember: zombies aren't actually real. (Go ahead, breathe a deep sigh of relief.)

For more on "World War Z" and the rest of the big new releases, check out our Weekend Picks...

Follow me on Twitter (@AdPoc)

View Comments