<< Bits and Pieces

George Romero's Yahoo Chat Session (Held October 1998)

<CCCola> Welcome to #NetCafeLive!

<CCCola> He started with "Night of the Living Dead" in 1968 and is currently

<CCCola> working on "Resident Evil." He's the undisputed champion of

<CCCola> the zombie flick...get your questions into director George Romero now!

<NetCafe> Welcomes You! Tonight please welcome our special guest

<NetCafe> ~ George Romero ~


<NetCafe> Welcome George Romero!!

<AskNetcafe> speaker says: Welcome to Talk City Mr. Romero! Your movie, "Resident Evil" is about a rescue squad that is sent to investigate the crime scene deep inside the American west countryside. Instead, they uncover something far more sinister, something far beyond the realm of science. What led you to work on this movie?

<GeorgeRomero> Hello!

<GeorgeRomero> LOL!!

<GeorgeRomero> well I made three zombie movies, and I guess when they did Redident Evil, it was a Japanese co, Capton, and they gave me credit for inspiring the game

<GeorgeRomero> So, when they decided to do a feature film of this movie, they decided that I should do it.

<GeorgeRomero> I did a commercial for this game, and then met all the people involved.

<GeorgeRomero> That's how it happened!

<AskNetcafe> dino says: Do you think it's difficult for directors to break out of a certain mold, or movie category?

<GeorgeRomero> Yes!

<GeorgeRomero> In my case, I'm sort of stuck in the horror genre, it seems that's what everyone wants to hire me to do.

<GeorgeRomero> I don't feel trapped, I love it!

<GeorgeRomero> No one grows up saying they only want to do horror movies, but then again I live it!

<GeorgeRomero> It's really difficult to get financing for anything not in your genre.

<GeorgeRomero> I think directors and writers get typcast even more so than actors.

<AskNetcafe> mysterygirl says: Have you noticed differences in tastes of the Fans of today compared to the Horror/SciFi Fans of 20 years ago, and if so, what?

<GeorgeRomero> MysteryGirl is stranger!

<GeorgeRomero> No, I think we've been telling horror stories probably since the begining of time.

<GeorgeRomero> I think tribal cave people sitting around the campfire were telling scary stories about what the moon was.

<GeorgeRomero> I think we are fascinated by the unknown.

<GeorgeRomero> That might be what gives us our superiority, if there is such a thing above the animals.

<GeorgeRomero> We know that there's something more and we're fascinated by it, and wonder what it is.

<GeorgeRomero> In a way I think the most agnostic person in the world is in that sense religious.

<AskNetcafe> quandro says: Your movies have spawned a number of websites on the internet. Do you visit these sites and how do you feel about your online success?

<GeorgeRomero> I have no idea, I don't visit the sites.

<GeorgeRomero> I burn incense for my computer, to keep it working.

<GeorgeRomero> I'm a completely illeterate computer person.

<GeorgeRomero> As I hear the typing, I'm envious and only wish I could type screenplays that fast.

<AskNetcafe> james says: You have a very impressive resume! Which one of your movies was most personally rewarding?

<GeorgeRomero> That's a tough question.

<GeorgeRomero> Obviously Night of the Living Dead, when it became a success.

<GeorgeRomero> That was really very gratifying.

<GeorgeRomero> When you make a film, you're not thinking about it's life, it's future life, in exhibition.

<GeorgeRomero> You're just thinking about the film itself.

<GeorgeRomero> It's like having children,

<GeorgeRomero> it's very hard to pick you're favorite.

<GeorgeRomero> With films, I think as with children,

<GeorgeRomero> there are certain things you fall in love with or get infatuated with.

<GeorgeRomero> .... that really have nothing to do with the body of the film, or it's intrinsic success or failure.

<GeorgeRomero> You fall in love for all the wrong reasons.

<GeorgeRomero> The films that I'm in love with

<GeorgeRomero> are Martin, and NightRider

<GeorgeRomero> It's mostly because of the situation that I was in when the films were being made.

<GeorgeRomero> The people who were working on the films and the family aspect of those productions.

<AskNetcafe> lisa says: While growing up, what medium (print or broadcast) influenced your current style the most?

<GeorgeRomero> In some ways I think there a couple of scenes in Martin which I think are the best realized of any I've ever done.

<GeorgeRomero> But Martin is I don't think the best movie that I did.

<GeorgeRomero> I love it more than any of the others.

<GeorgeRomero> I think because of those scenes, I feel that it's the most successful.

<GeorgeRomero> Print, without a doubt!

<GeorgeRomero> When I grew up there was no TV, I listened to radio.

<GeorgeRomero> I'm a 58 yr old guy.

<GeorgeRomero> I guess I should say I'm ONLY 58, and I can remember when no one had a TV.

<GeorgeRomero> I can remember my father bringing home a rented TV, which was no cabinet, all tubes, guts and wires.

<GeorgeRomero> It had a circular screen in the middle.

<GeorgeRomero> There were only occasionabl broadcasts.

<GeorgeRomero> You had to look in the Newspaper to find out what .... forget what's showing tonight.... you had to look to see if anything was showing tonight.

<GeorgeRomero> Really, my education and love for the genre came from comic books.

<GeorgeRomero> Comic books were later, it really came from reading horror stories.

<GeorgeRomero> I read Poe, and all the classic stuff and then later read comic books.

<GeorgeRomero> Even when TV became ordinary, commonplace when I was younger, there was very little on that was of that genre.

<GeorgeRomero> My first introduction of the genre in electronic media was the old Flash Gordon serial that they used to show in the daytime.

<GeorgeRomero> I would say definitely print was the old influence, for me.

<AskNetcafe> matt-hatter says: Although you are known for your horror films, My personal favorite of your films is KNIGHTRIDERS. Will you be straying from the horror genre anytime soon? If so what?

<GeorgeRomero> First of all I wouldn't call it strange.

<GeorgeRomero> I'd love to do something else.

<GeorgeRomero> I have two scripts in development with an old actor friend of mine, Ed Harris.

<GeorgeRomero> We're trying to get financing, but it's very , very hard.

<GeorgeRomero> There are no independent distributors anymore.

<GeorgeRomero> Mirimax is basically owned by Disney, even October is owned by Universal.

<GeorgeRomero> There are no small companies anymore.

<GeorgeRomero> ...who are willing to take a 1-3 million dollar flyer on what they think is a bad bet, or an improbabe set of circumstances.

<GeorgeRomero> If I try to sell a script of mine that's funny, or character oriented, or anything really outside the genre,

<GeorgeRomero> I get looked at crazily.

<GeorgeRomero> It's really tough and Ed, on the otherhand.... Ed is considered one of the greatest American actors ...

<GeorgeRomero> people will pay 3 million dollars to be a second banana in a Julia Roberts movie, but won't fork up 3 million for the total cost of a production with Ed as the star.

<AskNetcafe> smoke^ says: What is a typical day in your life?

<GeorgeRomero> LOL!!

<GeorgeRomero> Worring!

<GeorgeRomero> We have a very normal Pittsburgh life!

<GeorgeRomero> I have a seven yr old son, Andrew.

<GeorgeRomero> I drive him to soccer and baseball and a 14 yr old daughter.

<GeorgeRomero> I drive her to ballet and tennis!

<GeorgeRomero> All of that is not very scary, but what we see along the way is frightening!

<AskNetcafe> stardust says: You made the Day of The Dead in Pittsburgh with a huge turnout from locals, what was it like to pull that project together, and, any plans to return?

<GeorgeRomero> Hey StardusT!

<GeorgeRomero> I would love ... LOVE!!! .... emphatic LOVE to do another Dead movie!

<GeorgeRomero> As I was saying, independent distributors... people who have the money to say... Here's the check to make your movie, don't really exist anymore.

<GeorgeRomero> I have a conceit which is that my first Zombie movie was in the 60's,

<GeorgeRomero> the second one was in the 70's, third was in the 80's,

<GeorgeRomero> and I think that they reflect the decades.

<GeorgeRomero> As I say, this is a conceit.

<GeorgeRomero> Maybe they don't at all, maybe it's just my fever dream.

<GeorgeRomero> I would love to do one for the 90's!

<GeorgeRomero> I know that I'm almost out of time.

<GeorgeRomero> If I have to put it in a nutshell, to me the 90's are about ignoring the problem.

<GeorgeRomero> So, my sort of 90's Zombie film, script or idea ( I haven't written anything yet) is basically about ignoring the problem.

<GeorgeRomero> The Zombies are all around us and we've figured a way to live with it.

<GeorgeRomero> The Zombies have become more or less like homeless people that we step over on our way to the broadway show.

<GeorgeRomero> I know that's vague, but that capsulizes it.

<AskNetcafe> zephyr56 says: What's the status of bringing Night of the Living Dead to T.V.as a series?

<GeorgeRomero> We've been talking to actually 4 different companies who are interested in doing Night of theLiving Dead as a TV series.

<GeorgeRomero> My problem has been in most cases that I'd like to do it a certain way.

<GeorgeRomero> In my mind the phenomena happens all at once, on one day, for whatever reason.

<GeorgeRomero> The Dead STOP Being DEAD!

<GeorgeRomero> They ALL stand up!

<GeorgeRomero> Most of the companies that want a TV series, want to start slowly, one dead person, one Zombie gets up and walks.

<GeorgeRomero> Scientists try to figure it out, but in the meantime society is

<GeorgeRomero> normal, and people can have Dawsons Creek type relationships without worry.

<GeorgeRomero> It's just not my idea, I think even if it was actually to happen, people would continue to have relationships.

<GeorgeRomero> We can satisify your television needs within your parameters of what I'd like to do.

<GeorgeRomero> Everyone is afraid of what they call "An end of the World scenario."

<GeorgeRomero> My attitude is that it will take 10-12 yrs for the world to completely end, and the series won't probably run that long.

<GeorgeRomero> We are in discussion with several companies.

<GeorgeRomero> I'd like to do it, but won't do it unless we can do it at least in what way I believe to be correct.

<AskNetcafe> neil_fawcett says: While writing the Resident Evil script, how closely did you followed the story line/scenario of the game? Did you play it?

<GeorgeRomero> I have played the game with my son.

<GeorgeRomero> I never beat it.

<GeorgeRomero> My assistant, Jason actually set up a video camera and shot video of the TV screen while he played the entire game, this took weeks.

<GeorgeRomero> He beat the game!

<GeorgeRomero> Playing Chris, not Ghil ... so I at least saw the whole game as played by Chris.

<GeorgeRomero> My script, tries very much to stick to the game.

<GeorgeRomero> I did change some of the relationships.

<GeorgeRomero> Chris, is not a STARS. trooper, he's a local guy.

<GeorgeRomero> Ghil, is a trooper.

<GeorgeRomero> ... living in Raccoon City undercover.

<GeorgeRomero> They fall in love.

<GeorgeRomero> Chris doesn't realize that she is working for STARS.

<GeorgeRomero> Romance is not big in this movie. ROLF!

<GeorgeRomero> That's how they meet, and Chris winds up following the team into the mansion.

<GeorgeRomero> That's basically the only big differnce, that Chris isn't a STARS. guy.

<GeorgeRomero> We're trying to keep all the dark qualities of the game.

<GeorgeRomero> We will probably have to shoot two versions, because in the US and in many other countries, the violence won't be tolerated.

<GeorgeRomero> However, in Japan and Germany and many territories where the restrictions are not as stringent the complete version will be released.

<GeorgeRomero> I'm sure there will be directors cut versions released everywhere on video.

<AskNetcafe> dino says: I loved Creepshow! I think this movie had a terrific visual style. What was it like to work with Stephen King, did you know he would be so big back then?

<GeorgeRomero> LOL!

<GeorgeRomero> Yeah, Steve was already huge when we started to work on that.

<GeorgeRomero> Carrie was a big hit.

<GeorgeRomero> Actually Steve and I were introduced by Warner Brothers, because an executive there had seen Martin.

<GeorgeRomero> Steve had recently published Salems Lot.

<GeorgeRomero> The executive reasoned that ... gee... these are both stories about Vampires in a small town... maybe we should put these

<GeorgeRomero> guys together.

<GeorgeRomero> So, Warner Bros. sent me and my wife Chris, to visit with Steve.

<GeorgeRomero> We had a great visit, and we hung out for 3or 4 days and talked about Salems Lot,

<GeorgeRomero> and all of a sudden, Warners decided not to do it as a feature film, but to do it for TV.

<GeorgeRomero> Steve and his wife Tabitha and Chris and I remain friends.

<GeorgeRomero> Steve came in and did a little cameo appearance in Knightriders.

<GeorgeRomero> We chatted about doing a film together,

<GeorgeRomero> and I was leaned on by DC Comic books, Tales From the Crypt... etc.

<GeorgeRomero> And Steve confessed that he too read those under the bedspread with a flashlight.

<GeorgeRomero> I actually suggested that it would be great to make a movie with3 or 4 or 5 little horror stories, and make them all different.

<GeorgeRomero> One in black and white, one in 3-D, and make the formats all different.

<GeorgeRomero> A few days later Steve said, no, no ... we love the old comics.

<GeorgeRomero> He said, let's do an old comicl

<GeorgeRomero> He said, " I have the title, It's called Creepshow, and that will be the name of the comic book"

<GeorgeRomero> Within two weeks, he had a script.

<GeorgeRomero> A couple of the stories were previously published stories that he had written, that no one owned.

<GeorgeRomero> The others were ideas that he just hadn't written yet.

<GeorgeRomero> He threw them all into the pot.

<AskNetcafe> milsurf says: George, Just got the DVD of Document of the Dead. Awesome! are you a fan of DVD and will you be a part of "special editions

<GeorgeRomero> I'll be part of anything! ROLF!

<GeorgeRomero> ROFL even!

<GeorgeRomero> No one has asked me to do anything exclusively for DVD.

<GeorgeRomero> All the special editions that I've done have been for video cassette or laser disc.

<GeorgeRomero> I like DVD because I think it's better than tape, it's not as good as the big Laser Disc.

<GeorgeRomero> I'm more dedicated to those.

<AskNetcafe> merrows says: waht scares you

<GeorgeRomero> Radiation!

<GeorgeRomero> When I was growing up, the thing that scared me the most was John Cameron Swayze announcing ... to me exclusively ... that the Russians had the bomb.

<GeorgeRomero> That's the stuff.

<GeorgeRomero> I was raised Catholic, they used to distribute to us in grammer school... comic books which actually showed

<GeorgeRomero> first the Japanese and the "Commies"

<GeorgeRomero> coming in to our cities, our towns in the USA, and slaughtering children.

<GeorgeRomero> It was worse than Herrod from the Bibal!

<GeorgeRomero> At the end of these comic books the world blew up in an atomic cloud.

<GeorgeRomero> It really was propoganda, absolute 100% propoganda material.

<GeorgeRomero> It wound up terrifying me.

<GeorgeRomero> I actually remember the end of WWII,

<GeorgeRomero> I'm living in NYC, right in the Bronx, and we had black outs.

<GeorgeRomero> I remember black outs.

<GeorgeRomero> Turn out all the lights, put up black curtains in the windows.

<GeorgeRomero> This was pre-atomic bomb.... it was terrifying.

<GeorgeRomero> When the bomb became real, forget Godzilla movies, and the 50foot woman, it was a real fear that we were going to be destroyed in some instantanious,

<GeorgeRomero> hellatious - heat and light.

<GeorgeRomero> It was absolutely horrifying to think this was not a fantasy, not a movie, not a comic book.

<GeorgeRomero> I lived in an apartment building and the cellar had civil defense supplies, and we were supposed to go "down there" if and when it did happen, and try to live.

<GeorgeRomero> That was the scaries thing in my life, it still is the scariest.

<GeorgeRomero> Now, after 30 years, whatever its been since the missle crisis, of not having to worry about that.

<GeorgeRomero> All of a sudden we're worrying about it again, because of terrorism.

<GeorgeRomero> Pittsburgh, which you would think to be sort of safe, actually turned up number 8 a few weeks ago on the target list, because of Carnegie Mellons involvement with military and high level computer software.

<GeorgeRomero> So, I'm worried again.

<AskNetcafe> rudywaltz says: Would you consider someone producing a film of your short story "Clay"?

<GeorgeRomero> Yes!

<GeorgeRomero> Me!

<AskNetcafe> gneil3 says: In the fourth Dead movie - I much prefer TWILIGHT OF THE DEAD to DUSK OF THE DEAD, by the way - how connected will it feel to the others? DAWN and DAY both seem to be in same series to a much greater extent than either seem connected to NIGHT, so I'm curious if the new one will click completely to the middle two or will, rather, be like a bookend with NIGHT.

<GeorgeRomero> Wow!

<GeorgeRomero> I hope it won't be a bookend.

<GeorgeRomero> I hope it will be page 70... LOL!

<GeorgeRomero> I do think that the films are different, but I think that all three are different.

<GeorgeRomero> The Dawn is very bawdy and silly, Day to me is in a way even darker than the original Night.

<GeorgeRomero> As I said before, the 90's version would probably be the silliest of all!

<GeorgeRomero> Because the 90's are the silliest decade that I've ever lived in!

<GeorgeRomero> So, you've just got to be silly!

<GeorgeRomero> I hope that if I get to do it, that it will reflect the 90's adamantly, and I hope that the other films reflect the decade in which they were made.

<AskNetcafe> the_hand says: Are any of the actors from Day of the Dead or Dawn of the Dead going to be in the Resident Evil Movie?

<GeorgeRomero> I can't even say yet, I've just delivered the script, and when it comes down to casting a film there are so many

<GeorgeRomero> people involved, and Resident Evil will probably be the biggest budget that I've ever had.

<GeorgeRomero> I have no idea yet whether, or who ...what actors ... Number 1 might be willing to be in it, and Number 2, who the people writing the checks will find acceptable.

<GeorgeRomero> If it was up to me, I would always use the same actors!

<GeorgeRomero> ...but, it's not always up to me.

<AskNetcafe> kralle says: will you use the name corie mopps in your next film as one of the main stars?( i know this questions a little silly but hey someone has to ask it)

<GeorgeRomero> Silly question, I have no idea what it means, please clarify.

<GeorgeRomero> However, happy to use Mopps in anything!

<AskNetcafe> scipio64 says: Day of the dead is one of my all time fav films. did you ever use any of the cast from said film in any of your other films especially lori cadille(i think it was)as i thought they were worked well together but i have not seen any of them since?

<GeorgeRomero> Lorie Cardille is the daughter of Chilly Billy Cardille.

<GeorgeRomero> ... who is an old, old friend.

<GeorgeRomero> He used to be the zacharily of Pittsburgh.

<GeorgeRomero> He had a Sat night Horror Show called "Chiller Theater" and he called himself Chilly Billy Cardilly.

<GeorgeRomero> He was a big help when we were making Night of the Living Dead, because he got the Helicopter, the News guys and people to appear in the film basically for free.

<GeorgeRomero> He's in the film, as the Newscaster who says... " Are they slow moving chief" to the Sherrif, and the Sherrif says... "yeah, they're dead, they're all messed up"

<GeorgeRomero> This was all ad lib!

<GeorgeRomero> That whole scene was ad lib.

<GeorgeRomero> I think it may be one of the most memorable scenes in the movie!

<GeorgeRomero> Bill and I have been friends since before then,

<GeorgeRomero> and his daughter Lori was, went to Carnegie Mellon,

<GeorgeRomero> was a trained actress, went to New York, did some Broadway, and off Broadway.

<GeorgeRomero> We met and I asked her if she wanted to do Day, and she said yes.

<GeorgeRomero> She's since married and moved back to Pittsburgh.

<GeorgeRomero> We're trying to find something to do together.

<GeorgeRomero> She basically has kids, and her daughter and my daugher are in school.... we hang out socially and dream.

<GeorgeRomero> One of the guys in Day, Greg Nickotaro is now one of the maybe top special effects guys in Hollywood.

<GeorgeRomero> A few of the other actors are working, but not in high profile stuff.

<AskNetcafe> zephyr56 says: Stephen King is talking about retiring soon, are you? Please say no!

<GeorgeRomero> ROFL!!!

<GeorgeRomero> I'm not planning on retiring till roughly 14 yrs after my death~!

<GeorgeRomero> ;-)

<GeorgeRomero> If I was Steve, I would have retired 14 yrs ago...

<GeorgeRomero> I dont' think Steve is ever going to really retire.

<GeorgeRomero> I think he'll be telling stories as long as he can speak.

<GeorgeRomero> The greatest thing is to listen to one of his books on tape, when Steve reads it himself.

<GeorgeRomero> That might be hard for people who don't know Steve to appreciate.

<GeorgeRomero> If you've ever met Steve, you realize he talks in complete paragraphs.

<GeorgeRomero> Listening to one of the books when he reads it is like being with Steve at a party.

<GeorgeRomero> I hope to hell he doesn't retire.

<GeorgeRomero> First of all he probably will live longer than me, because he's younger, and I hope he's still telling stories 100 yrs after his death.

<AskNetcafe> howler-x says: Which author do you read most? What type of stuff do you read?

<GeorgeRomero> ooohhhhhh

<GeorgeRomero> I read mostly fantasy stuff.

<GeorgeRomero> When you work in this biz, it's very hard to find the time to read for pure pleasure.

<GeorgeRomero> I know that's hard to understand.

<GeorgeRomero> Even when you're not working on a film, you're going to meetings, talking about films... basically you spend your life trying to find something that you like,

<GeorgeRomero> which somebody might be willing to finance.

<GeorgeRomero> Inbetween paying jobs, I'm always sitting and writing speculative scripts which are ideas I think are worthy.

<GeorgeRomero> That leads very little time when you have a family ... which I do... and that leaves very little time to just pick up a book and read it for fun.

<GeorgeRomero> I make a point to read all of Steve's stuff.

<GeorgeRomero> I read Clive Barker.

<GeorgeRomero> Beyond that I read the golden oldies, Poe and all that!

<GeorgeRomero> I'm also a big fan of non-fiction, or who knows if it's non fiction or not.

<GeorgeRomero> I have every UFO book that's been published, I read a bunch of that.

<AskNetcafe> speaker says: Thank you for being with us tonight Mr. Romero. Is there anything else you would like to discuss that we haven't covered?

<GeorgeRomero> No, not really, I am just glad to be here and talking with all of you.

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