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Overlord: The Interviews

Early on when this untitled JJ. Abrams produced feature was announced by Paramount Pictures, there were quick predictions that it may have been the next installment of the Cloverfield film series. Closer to release, details remained slim. However information unveiled it was in fact ‘not’ a Cloverfield movie, rather an individual premise of reanimation experiments discovered during a World War 2 mission by American soldiers inside enemy territory.

During celebrations in Sydney coinciding with the annual 2018 OZ Comic Con, Australian director Julius Avery, alongside one of his solid international cast Pilou Asbaek, presented their Overlord to selected press and genre fans. The day after, I sat down with the pair for a brief chat without mentioning zombies once.

Thank you Julius for making sure the cinema pumped up the volume.

JA – We wanted to do as much old school stunts and action as possible with effective cinematography. Sound played an element in all that, especially the opening fifteen minutes. Audiences are going to feel full force. Filming inside that plane set without side walls brought the realism for the actors.

Did the script read as amazing as it became on screen?

PA – I just kind of thought, how will this be possible creating what I was presented with frightening horror, fantasy and action elements all in one. As the main villain, I was not the lead so different stages of my character evolved as we went and I liked that concept. I took to playing Wafner very seriously.

You had an assortment of intense scenes with the lovely Mathilde Ollivier.

PA – She is just brilliant and tougher than all of us (both guys laugh nodding in agreeance). We collaborated on how scenes would play out so they may look realistically uncomfortable but indeed everything was just incredible acting from her. I would work with her again anytime, very talented and kind.

The horror make-up looked practical, well most of it anyway.

JA – All of it was challenging old school practical and when the guy had his neck snapped back, that was puppetry. I’m proud of it.

Is acting harder caked under angular make-up?

PA – It’s exempt to the acting really, but made me fiercer in delivery. I felt villainous but on the inside it’s still just me after five hours of application.

Having interviewed JJ. Abrams, I know how cool he is. How was the working relationship?

JA – He saw my first film Son of a Gun, got me in for a meeting then basically asked me to check out a script, Overlord. Hell yeah (laughs), I immediately reacted thinking it was bonkers, then got affected with the weight of strong characters. He’s hands-on articulate and collaborative in the process, the best!

OVERLORD (Paramount Pictures, Rated R 110 min)

Shane A. Bassett

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