I recently had the privilege of speaking with upcoming UK director Shaub Miah about his upcoming zombie short Death Do Us Apart, his career so far and his influences. A real pleasure to speak with, his enthusiasm for the project is as infectous as a zombie virus and we are certain after you see the trailer and read what he has to say that you will succumb as well.
MZ – So how did the idea behind the movie come about? Did you and the scriptwriter have a night out go wrong or something less sinister?
SM: I originally had a synopsis for a gritty love story called “Time is money” which was of the same concept but didn’t include the zombie strippers and having known Martin Myers for 5 years through the Empire Cinema he recommended a film on zombies as they were the next best thing having been an executive producer for “Gangsters Guns and Zombies” which grossed $220,000 in 18 months and that he would be able to sell a zombie movie. That got me thinking and the re-write of the synopsis for “Death do us apart” began with thanks to Trevor Botorek who is an old school friend and the script writer for the film.
MZ – Tell us a bit about the movie? What’s it about and who are the key characters?
SM: The movie is a combination of films but first and foremost its a buddy movie combined with the art of deception, with a Quentin Tarantino-esque style, with a bit of zombie head bashing/end of the world Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright style. I am a big fan of “Stand by Me” so I took my inspiration from the film and from my life as it has all the ingredients of friendship, coming of age, courage and curiosity and early works of Tarantino and end of the world Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg.
So what the film is about, when a group of friends decide to take their sheltered friends Jake out to a strip club for a night he would always remember, they find themselves having a night that none of them would be able to forget. As the alcohol and money begins to flow quickly the boys begin to realise that they’re about to get more than they paid for – and not in the good way. Funny, sexy and gory, Death Do Us Apart is a zombie movie unlike any you have seen before.
MZ – Made on quite a small budget what have been the biggest challenges you have faced while making this movie?
SM: First challenge was make up, I gave from my own budget £250 pounds to the lead make up artist Maria Malone and some of the obstacle she faced was to make it look authentic which meant that I had to organise cast and crew to come to one location for make up test, which lead to the second difficult task that I faced as a director and producer trying to get everyone in a room at the same time throughout the entire blocking/rehearsal and filming days but we managed it.
And lastly my directing could have been better but I have learnt a lot from the people around me and that’s why I assembled a strong crew, so that I could always get feedback from them positive or negative.
SM: I personally believe that if your passionate about what you do it will then your passion will convey to others and with Martin’s experience being in the film industry for 40 years it was a no brainer as the film had potential to do well. However, it was up to me to make it happen and it still is.
MZ – Was it difficult to attract these types of actors with this being your first directing role?
SM: No it was not, I firmly believe that if your passion matches your word and commitment then you can do anything and it also helps to have a good script.
MZ – From your experience, what advice would you give first time directors?
SM: My advice to first time directors is to never doubt your self, your way is always the right way. Also listen to your peers who are working with you or work in the field that your currently working in, make everyone in your crew and cast a family and what I mean is listen to everyone make sure no one has any doubts and lastly always say thank you to everyone.
And document your film from the very beginning and start social media campaigns such as Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube enabling your self to start a kick starter campaign, give your self every means to have the chance to find the funding or investment.
MZ – Death Do Us Apart comes a few years after the initial wave of similar movies such as Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! and Zombie Strippers, what does it bring to the club?
SM: What Death do us apart brings to the table is E’s literally, friendship, coming of age in a strip club, courage with a bat and curiosity with a ten pound note, but you have to make your own mind up about that I guess and buy the film when it comes out.
MZ – The UK has produced a couple of angry female zombie movies recently (Stag Night of the Dead, Doghouse) have you seen any of these and if so what were your thoughts? How hard has it been to balance the comedy and zombie elements in Death do us apart?
SM: I have watched Dog House and found it funny, one to watch with the lads. It really hasn’t been too bad to balance the comedy and to be honest, like I said it is a buddy movie and we all have a group of friends that bring different character facets to the table, so I have moulded my characters around my old school friends and my life with a dash of zombies.
SM: Stand by me meets Shaun of the Dead vs Zombie Strippers.
MZ – When can we expect to see the short film released?
SM: Can’t say yet but hopefully in front of a Lions gate Blu ray and DVD.
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