Ibiza Undead premiered at last week’s Horror Channel Frightfest. Directed by Andy Edwards, the film sees a lads holiday abroad spoiled by an unruly mass of zombies. We caught up with Andy the afternoon of the premiere to talk all about the project. When we met him Andy described himself as being ‘tired and emotional’, the tired part coming from partying with Alex Zane and Emily Booth, the emotional part coming from seeing his feature debut premiere at the festival.
He wasn’t all by himself though, he was joined by his three leading men – Homer Todiwala, Ed Kear and Jordan Coulson. We chatted all things zombies, including how best to survive an attack, and realised that Todiwala, Kear and Coulson are exactly their on-screen personas. The quartet definitely gave a verbal work-out, be warned the following interview contains traces of banter.
A lot of films at this year’s Frightfest feature zombies, Ibiza Undead stands out though as the zombie virus is around, but life hasn’t changed. What made you decide to change things up?
ANDY EDWARDS: I think the reason for that is – I’m a zombie fan. I watch a lot of zombie films, but most of them start the same way with nobody being infected, and then everybody being infected, and you have to explain zombies and everybody knows [what they are]. That’s a good half an hour of the film you’ve wasted before you can get into everything else. So I thought let’s just start with zombies and say they are zombies in this world, everyone knows what they are. The idea is they’re almost like Bird Flu. It’s something that you heard about and it was on the news, or the Ebola virus, but it never actually affected people much in this country. It didn’t impact on your day-to-day life. So that’s where we start the story. The zombies are there, everybody knows them, the audience knows what they’re like, so lets just get straight into it.
What was it about the script that you guys liked when you read it?
HOMER TODIWALA: I just thought it was good fun. It seemed like a lot of fun, it was really good fun to read. I remember sitting there thinking ‘I’d love to go to Ibiza and film a film’ (all laugh), and then I read it and was like ‘actually this character is very me, I could do this good justice’. That’s what drew me to it I guess.
ED KEAR: I looked at the title on the front page and then immediately afterwards looked out of my window and it was raining and I thought ‘I think I could bring something to this’
AE: And that’s as much as Ed ever looked at the script (all laugh).
JORDAN COULSON: I completely agree. Just looking at the title it was just fun. It had zombies in it. It’s on this amazing island called Ibiza which is the place you want to go to when you’re in your early twenties. You just want to go and rave it up. I was actually there two weeks before and I got the call out while I was in Ibiza telling me I’d got this movie. I did a knee slide to celebrate.
EK: What terrain were you on when you did the knee slide? Were you on suitable terrain?
JC: I was just on pavement.
EK: Oh Christ.
JC: No not pavement, just like white tiles. Pavement would have been horrendous wouldn’t it?
What would your weapons of choice be in the zombie apocalypse?
HT: Shotgun. No sorry, assault rifle… no an MGM all day. Three hundred rounds in a magazine…
EK: Alright that’s great Homer, but it’s not very well thought out is it? Where are you going to find that in West London?
HT: I’ll go to the army barracks or something.
EK: Okay, where’s that? What you gonna do… go on TFL.Gov.UK and look it up? And then are you going to wait for a bus in the zombie apocalypse?! (Laughs) Guess what, it’s over!
HT: You forget – I did army cadets training.
EK: Yeah, but it doesn’t matter. If it happens now what are you going to do?
HT: Get my dad’s kitchen knives.
EK: Again, he’s in East London, we’re in West London.
HT: Alright fine I’ll grab those books off of the shelves.
EK: Brilliant! (All laugh) You see how that has downgraded?! A gun, to a knife, to a book.
HT: Well it’s all to do with what’s in your scenario…
EK: Exactly! So why did you go with that useless gun that you can’t get.
HT: Because I didn’t see that glass of chillies over there. I’d use that jar of chillies now… just smash.
EK: So that’s one zombie, what are you going to do with the rest?
HT: Get the fire extinguisher, use the rest.(All laugh) Hang off the ceiling.
EK: (Laughing) But how are you going to get up there? How long are you staying up there for?
HT: I’d use a ladder… Look let’s be honest here, Ed has more meat, they’ll go for Ed before any of the rest of us. By the time they go for Ed, I’m out the window and on the tube.
How much like your characters are you?
HT: I think the most interesting thing about all of us boys meeting is the dynamic of the three characters in the film is the exact same dynamic of the three of us in life. These two, if one of them latches onto something…
HT: I know I bring it on myself, but er…
EK: Well, you’ve actually thrown me under the bus here because I was going to tell you all about my method approach and how I thought about the character for weeks… To be fair I think it was just all of us whacked up to ten. No it is weird though, the dynamic is very, very similar to the film.
How was it directing these guys? From what I’m seeing here it looks a bit like herding cats.
AE: Yeah, if you can imagine this but in Ibiza where they’ve just been out the night before.
EK: I dispute that.
HT: I was in bed at nine o’clock every night.
AE: I mean these guys had never met before so in the casting process we had to think about who was best for the parts, but also whether they’d be chemistry. Could you imagine that these people could possibly be friends. They hit it off, maybe too well for the duration of the filming. It was like trying to make a film on an actual lad’s holiday… on an eighteen-to-thirty holiday. But yeah these guys are still mates now so we got something right and hopefully that comes across on screen that these guys are believable as friends and that chemistry is there.
You also have a cameo from presenter Alex Zane, how did he become involved?
AE: He’s actually a friend of mine. I used to work with him at XFM, the radio station. Not many people know, but he’s actually a massive zombie fan. He’s a zombie extra in Romero’s Land of the Dead and in the Zack Snyder remake of Dawn of the Dead so this is the third zombie film he’s in. He’s completing the trilogy. So yeah he was a friend of mine, I knew he liked zombies so when we were shooting I wrote him a little part and got him to be in it.
How does one cast a zombie?
AE: Well I’ve made several short zombie films before this one so I knew some people from the zombie community. The people who like dressing up as zombies every weekend. Some who even actually make a living out of it. So we had a few key zombies, there’s a zombie in the pool played by a guy, zombie Dave, he makes his living by being a zombie. He’d been in a couple of my short films so he was first pick for that. Then the zombie extras were just people recruited off the streets in Ibiza. Some of them were a bit worse for wear already, but that just made it easier for them to be zombies.
Ed – you have some nice scenes with Emily Atack, what’s she like to work with?
EK: Fantastic, Emily’s great. I think she’s amazing. I think she’s got fantastic comic timing. She’s someone I’d love to work with again in future.
HT: It also helps that she’s such a nice person. You sort of have this perception of how people might be because they’re a lot further in their careers than you are and then you meet them and they’re just like you. They’re just someone who’s doing it to pay the bills. Emily was great.
AE: Yeah and she was very game. I think pretty much on her first day we put her in the pool and attacked her with a zombie, which wasn’t much fun for anyone involved. There were no heated pools in Ibiza so it was freezing, but she did it and did a good job of it and yeah she was great to work with.
There’s a very intimate scene between the pair of you. Ed – what was that like to shoot?
EK: Well it wasn’t remotely challenging (laughs). Do you know what I mean, it’s Emily Atack, she’s gorgeous. It wasn’t difficult; I didn’t have to psych myself up or anything. But she’s a consummate professional and yeah it was good.
Andy you’re clearly a fan of the horror genre, what about the rest of you?
JC: I’m a bit of a wuss to be fair. My first horror film that I really watched was Paranormal Activity. Couldn’t quite sleep for a couple of weeks / months. But I think I’m building up a sort of layer, a strong layer now that I can actually start watching more horror movies.
EK: (pats Jordan on the shoulder) Take it day by day mate. I tend to like the more psychological thriller types, like Sixth Sense, that’s one that I was always really fond of. It had a bit of an effect on me when I was younger, I think I was probably fourteen when I watched that, but I couldn’t sleep for a couple of weeks after watching that one. I can’t deal with any of this torture stuff, you know like Saw, I can’t…
JC: I don’t mind that.
EK: Do you not?
JC: No I don’t mind that stuff.
EK: How can you handle that and not the other stuff?
JC: It’s ghosts. I can’t handle ghosts, because when I’m in bed at night…
EK: Have you seen Sixth Sense?
JC: Yeah I have, but I’m not scared of Sixth Sense.
EK: I wouldn’t say I’m scared of Saw, I just don’t want to watch it.
HT: The problem with Saw is you watch it and part of you – because everyone talks about how gory it is – and you watch it going – they’re definitely screwed. For me it’s all about good cinematography, a good idea and I’m game. That’s why I like 28 Days Later so much because it was the first time where the zombies were full blown pelt at you. And the beginning, you hear Danny Boyle talk about that shot. The way they closed the whole of Westminster Bridge to shoot that. You look at it and you’re like ‘that is exactly what it would feel like if you’re walking alone on that bridge’.
You can read our Ibiza Undead review here.