Atlantic City the perfect backdrop for ‘Army of the Dead’

Need an apocalyptic wasteland for your new zombie film? Turns out, as a substitute of constructing a set, Atlantic City, NJ, will just do high quality. 

The seaside town has fallen on laborious occasions in recent times, however it made the perfect spot to movie “Army of the Dead,” a brand new film a few group of mercenaries who try to steal tens of millions left behind in a on line casino vault after Las Vegas is overrun by the undead. 

The movie, starring Dave Bautista, Tig Notaro and Ana de la Reguera, is taking part in in theaters and begins streaming as we speak on Netflix. 

Shooting in actual Las Vegas casinos wasn’t attainable, as a result of they’re at all times open, so the crew used two shuttered Atlantic City spots as a stand-in: the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel and the Showboat. 

Both venues closed in 2014 (the Showboat later reopened as a non-gaming lodge), and the filmmakers say being inside was a bit spooky. 

Raul Castillo, Omari Hardwick and Ana De La Reguera hunt zombies in "Army of the Dead."
Raul Castillo (left), Omari Hardwick (heart) and Ana De La Reguera (proper) hunt zombies in “Army of the Dead”

“There was a lot of discovery walking through hallway after hallway. Ikea must have modeled their stores after casinos,” Julie Berghoff, the movie’s manufacturing designer, instructed The Post. “There are no windows and you get lost and start to panic. That kind of fit our story.” 

The Atlantic Club greatest embodied the aesthetic Berghoff was going for. 

“The look was a little nostalgic, a little on the effervescent side, with white marble and that fake glamorous feeling that you have when you walk into a casino,” she stated.

The lodge was used for a number of exterior pictures, however inside — having been deserted for 5 years — it turned out to be crawling with one thing scarier than zombies: mould. 

The manufacturing paid to abate it, however the job was too massive. Instead, a quarantine space (seen in the precise film) was created by hanging plastic sheeting for safety. 

“The mold was on one side, we were on the other,” Berghoff stated. 

"Army of the Dead" director Zach Snyder oversees a shot of a zombie attack.
Director Zach Snyder (in the white T-shirt) oversees a scene by which Dave Bautista factors a rifle at an attacking zombie.
©Netflix/Courtesy Everett Colle

The movie was capable of shoot upstairs in the Twenty third-floor suite as soon as put aside for Frank Sinatra — a frequent visitor many years in the past. It additionally used the empty indoor pool for a scene by which a horde of zombies assault a captured prisoner. 

For a scene close to the movie’s climax by which Bautista and his staff attempt to outrun the zombies on a on line casino ground, “Army of the Dead” moved to the Showboat. 

The former on line casino’s cavernous, 60,000-square-foot gaming ground had been empty for years. 

“All of the machines were gone because of the law. You can’t have machines without a gaming license,” Berghoff stated. “We had to find over 700 [decommissioned] machines and tables and to bring that hotel to life.” 

One concern the filmmakers confronted was determining flip off the lights. Lighting in casinos is mainly by no means switched off, and people working at the lodge weren’t even positive do it. 

The energy was ultimately lower. 

“It was creepy, for sure,” Berghoff stated. “But that’s the way we wanted to shoot, with just cracks of light coming through some window that’s a half a mile away.”

The manufacturing additionally needed to scramble to make the piles of useless our bodies required for sure exterior pictures. A particular results firm made about 15 high-quality fakes to be positioned on prime of the pile, however for the others, the crew improvised. 

“We bought out every Halloween skeleton that exists, and came up with techniques [to make them look distressed], like melting nylon and slapping on peat moss,” Berghoff stated. 

“It’s like a massive art project.” 

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