One of the tragic ironies of George A. Romero’s life was that the man whose work is vastly influential was unable to get funding for films in his later years. The Godfather of the Zombie never got residuals for the appropriation of his creations and was turned away by financiers when he presented them with new material. All the while, The Walking Dead remained the most profitable show on AMC, a testament to the endurance of Romero’s vision.
Still, he was undaunted; before he passed, Romero was planning to attend Frontières, the Fantasia International Film Festival’s annual film co-production market. He was hoping to secure funding for Road of the Dead, a film that imagined undead racecar drivers competing for the entertainment of rich humans in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Related Article: A Personal Farewell to George A. Romero
Romero’s passing has energized his frequent collaborator Matt Birman, who was attached to direct Road of the Dead; he’ll be taking the film to Frontières on Romero’s behalf. Another sad irony is that the film is sure to get funding, as the influential filmmaker’s death has reinvigorated interest in everything Romero related. Birman spoke passionately in a recent interview with Indie Wire, where he revealed that Romero had 4 additional scripts he wanted to produce.
“I will stop at nothing to get them made! For him and with him,” Birman said in an email to IndieWire. Just two weeks ago, Birman said that Romero was eager to begin work on the projects. “He said to me, ‘Let’s get this done so we can get on to the other stuff!’” Birman said, calling the screenplays “fantastic scripts.”
In making “Road of the Dead,” Birman is determined “to protect and maintain the legacy and integrity of both the artist and the man,” he said. “He was a no-bullshit, super honest, tell-it-like-it-is man and I will always continue in that tradition.”
You can check out the interview in its entirety, HERE.
Official Synopsis: The story is set on an island where zombie prisoners race cars in a modern-day Coliseum for the entertainment of wealthy humans. Birman describes the project as Road Warrior meets Rollerball at a Nascar race, with significant inspiration from Ben-Hur.