Making of Zombies – World War Z

As promised a time-lapse from the original shoot of World War Z in Hungary.


A World Of Zombies…

Back in 2011 I started work on World War Z for Academy Award winning company Coulier Creatures.

I was one of the 5 key Prosthetic makeup artists on the film.

I came on board the film  to work on the stage 3 make ups which were the most extreme looking of all the zombies characters. Working with Make up designer Mark Coulier, we worked out a way to mass produce the large amount of zombies needed for the end sequence in the film (which one year later we would re-shoot with the new ending) Mark worked out that we would be making up around 60 zombies each day for the 4 weeks of shooting in Budapest (Budapest doubled for Russia in the film.)

Each Zombie consisted of around 10 silicone face pieces which we sculpted on generic faces as there was no time to individually life cast each performer… Once the sculpts were finished we floated them off and broke them down to be flat moulded pieces which was quite an undertaking. Then it was a production line of mass producing literally thousands of prosthetic pieces in time for the shoot.

Unfortunately 90% of what we shot in the Russian sequence was cut out of the film, you only see a few seconds of what we did because they changed the final third of the movie which  now ends in Cardiff, Wales(!!??)…

A year later we came back to re-shoot the end of the movie, the first sequence we were involved in was the plane attack scene. We shot this sequence over 2 weeks and involved making up more and more infected passengers as they attacked each other, this consisted of small pro-bondo bites and transfer vein tattoos.

The main bulk of our work was left for the scene in the W.H.O building (which we shot in a semi closed down factory in Kent, UK) we where there for about 2 weeks and we had around 30 zombies to make up each day which consisted of the original prosthetics we sculpted for the Russian shoot which we remade for the Cardiff shoot.

The original shoot all took place at night so after 4 weeks of night shooting in the cold November Hungarian weather, it was nice to be shooting indoors in the daytime.

Working with a star as big as Brad Pitt on both the Russian and the Cardiff sequence was great, he loved being around our Zombie characters and had a lot of respect for the time it took to get the Zombies ready on set each day.

(Budapest was an absolute blast though and the Hungarian make up artists were just amazing!, The Budapest dancers we used for both the Russian and Wales shoot were the best!)

I really want to thank Mark Coulier for giving me the opportunity to work on such an awesome project, and to make a new style of zombies is always a good thing…And of course working with Brad Pitt isn’t too bad either…

Coming up….The Image Animation years…