Shock Interview: Gangsters, Guns and Zombies Director Matt Mitchell

Gangsters, Guns and Zombies details what might happen if a group of British gangsters were confronted with a hoard of blood thirsty zombies.

The film hits VOD today and will arrive on DVD and Blu-ray on December 11th. 

We chatted with the film’s director Matt Mitchell about his feature film directorial debut, working on a nonexistent budget, trying to categorize the film, and his love for swearing. 

Set against the backdrop of post-zombie England, the film concerns a botched robbery which leads a motley crew of thieves into an apocalyptic battle with a zombie horde.

Shock Till You Drop: Tell us a little bit about your experience directing your first feature film, Gangsters, Guns & Zombies.

Matt Mitchell:  Is nightmare too strong of a word? It was sort of a controlled nightmare, I suppose. We made Gangsters, Guns & Zombies on a shoestring budget that was cut in half and set on fire. My wife and I wrote a script around what we thought we could do for a small budget. That script took on a life of its own. What we ended up with is the film that you see. It’s my first feature film. I was previously freelancing as a director, doing mainly crappy music videos. I’d been doing that for about ten years. It was sort of a make or break moment for me. I got together with my wife and a producer friend of mine and we made it happen. We weren’t really expecting it to be sold internationally. We got it made, and as luck would have it, we knew a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy and we ended up with a sales agent. The next thing we knew it was being sold all over the world. For us, it was the best thing that could have possibly happened. By the way, am I allowed to swear?

Shock:  You can swear as much as you want. 

Mitchell:  Thank fuck for that.

Shock:  All things considered, would you like to sit in the director’s chair again?

Mitchell:  You said I could swear, right? Fuck music videos. Hell yes. Get me back in to feature films. Now that we have finished Gangsters, Guns & Zombies, we have got a crazy horror comedy thriller kind of movie that we are trying to push for next year. I definitely want to get back in the chair, although, it wasn’t much of a chair. I’ll be honest with you, Tyler; it was more the seat of my pants and running around. I can’t fucking wait. That’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. It was the dumbest thing that we’ve ever done, but we cannot fucking wait to do it again. It was so much fun. I mean that with my whole heart. It was so much fun. The fact that we pulled it all of is just incredible. I can’t wait to do it again.

Shock:  The Crazy Steve character was a lot of fun to watch. Where did the inspiration for his character come from?

Mitchell:  Crazy Steve is based on the actor who played him [Fabrizio Santino]. My wife was working on another project and I was helping out, as well. Fabrizio was one of the actors working on that project. While we were writing Gangsters, Guns & Zombies, we were chatting with Fabrizio. He’s a brilliant actor. He originally had a small role, but the more I talked to him, the character developed. He was originally supposed to die off early on. Without spoiling anything for anyone, he gets the fate that he gets now. He was also inspired by the fact that we really needed a wild card. We needed someone to do the kind of things Crazy Steve does.

Shock:  Gangsters, Guns & Zombies is a mash up of a couple of different genres. It’s like a Guy Ritchie style heist film mixed with a zombie film. Do you think of it more as a heist film with a zombie backdrop or the other way around?

Mitchell:  Do I have to choose one of those?

Shock:  Those were just suggestions. You can choose whatever you think fits best. 

Mitchell:  I’m going with romantic comedy. It just happens to take place in zombie infested England. That’s a good question. After the film has been rewritten, and shot, reshot, and edited, the zombies became a way to trap our entertaining characters. The idea of it being gangsters in a van was always the main premise. Having an insane series of events happen around them was a way to trap them together. There is the fact that I love zombie movies, so it was difficult for me not to shoehorn some zombies and horror elements in there. At the heart of it, we really wanted to make the kind of thing that people would watch again. So, that does not answer your question at all, does it? (Laughs). Let me answer your question. Is it a heist movie with a zombie backdrop? Yes.

Shock:  Given that you shot the film on a shoestring budget that was cut in half and set on fire, was there anything that you really wanted to accomplish but weren’t able to?

Mitchell:  Fuck, yes, so much. The main thing was the medieval knight fight scene. That was written as a three day shoot and we did it in an afternoon. So, that probably gives you an idea. We had an insane fight scene planned. I think that fight scene is pretty crazy, still, but because of the lack of time we dropped some of the craziness down.

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