Zack Snyder Says Adding Tig Notaro to ‘Army of the Dead’ Was an “Easy Decision”

Zack Synder’s zombie heist film Army of the Dead is now available to stream on Netflix — but it looks a bit different now from its original cut.

The action-horror film landed on the streamer on May 21, starring Dave Bautista as mercenary Scott Ward who leads a $200 million heist in a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas.

Ana de la Reguera, Omari Hardwick, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, Raúl Castillo, Nora Arnezeder, Matthias Schweighöfer, Samantha Win and Rich Cetrone also star in the movie which features a Zombie Elvis because Vegas, baby.

However, the scenes that feature comedian Tig Notaro as helicopter pilot Marianne Peters were not what Snyder and his wife — producer Deborah Snyder — shot in the first place.

The film originally starred an entirely different comedian, Chris D’Elia — however, when he was accused by multiple young women of sexually harassing them, the Synders were tasked with figuring out how best to deal with it.

“I think it was a fairly easy one,” Zack said of his decision to remove D’Elia from the film, when asked by Vanity Fair, with his wife adding that it was also an expensive one, noting that Netflix “did the right thing,” and “put their money where their mouth is.”

The cost of removing the disgraced comedian from his scenes, and inserting Notaro into them, was millions of dollars and also proved to be a logistical challenge as the reshoots needed to be scheduled once the COVID-19 pandemic was well and truly underway.

Complicating matters further was the fact that Notaro is a cancer survivor and is therefore considered to be at higher risk of both catching the virus, and experiencing serious health complications as a result of it. “She was nervous about being immunocompromised,” Deborah said.

In the end, CGI and advanced VFX saved the day with D’Elia being deleted from the film entirely and Notaro digitally added into all of the scenes where her presence was required — without her coming into contact with any of her fellow castmates. In fact, Bautista still has yet to meet his co-star with whom he appears in several scenes.

The lead actor told Vulture, “What really bothers me, when I watch this film — it bothers me that I don’t know Tig.

“I feel like I should know her. I want to meet her, and I want to hug her and tell her how amazing she was in the film. I’ve been able to do that with all my other costars, and I haven’t been able to do it with Tig because I haven’t met her yet.”

The fact that Notaro fit seamlessly into the film is also acknowledged by its director, with Snyder telling Vanity Fair: “I think the movie is better with Tig Notaro, frankly, because she’s more unexpected and she’s more fun.

“She’s like, ‘Zack, clearly you knew that I had an action hero in here somewhere. I don’t know where it is, but you found it.’ She’s so bone-dry, but in the best possible way.”

This is not the first time a film has had to be re-edited in order to remove a problematic cast member and replace them with someone else, since the inception of Hollywood’s #MeToo movement.

In 2017, Ridley Scott removed Kevin Spacey from his film All the Money in the World after the Oscar-winning actor was accused of sexual assault. Scott hired Christopher Plummer to replace Spacey in the role of J. Paul Getty, spending $10 million to shoot 400 new shots featuring Plummer in just nine days.

Some of the scenes were filmed again entirely with stars Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg returning for the reshoots, while others combined new footage with shots from the original that didn’t include Plummer.

“It would have been a pity if the film were completely neglected because of what happened,” Scott said at the time of his decision to recast Spacey.

“I jumped into it immediately saying, ‘I can fix this. We’re going to have to recast, make sure everyone was available and the locations were available so I could go back as soon as possible and pick up every shot that [Spacey] was in.”

Army of the Dead is now streaming on Netflix.

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