For several decades now, Greg Nicotero has been using his impressive brand of special effects to bring to cinematic life the impossible for directors like Steven Spielberg, Wes Craven, Paul Thomas Anderson, John Carpenter, Eli Roth, Quentin Tarantino, Michael Mann, Michael Bay and Robert Rodriguez. Basically, if you've seen a gnarly piece of makeup in a high-profile movie anytime in the last 20 years, he or his company probably had a hand in it.
Nicotero doesn't only do movies, though. He's also responsible for the unbelievably good zombie effects on The Walking Dead (a show he's now an executive producer on), and he delivered the very cool, very practical makeup effects for the vampires on From Dusk till Dawn: The Series. We spoke to him earlier this week about doing the creature work on that show (get a sneak peek of that here), but we'll save that for next week. Before then we wanted to share this portion about Nicotero moving into the world of directing, and the one gig that keeps getting away from him.
Movies.com: Have there been any dream projects you haven't actually been able to do?
Greg Nicotero: I do have to say, and it continues to elude me, when they did the original TV show version of The Stand, I wanted to do the effects for it so bad. I had even flown to New York to meet with Richard Rubenstein, because I was so passionate about that book. I really wanted to do it. Ironically, we wrapped The Walking Dead and I was back to reading the trades and saw that a director had been hired for the remake of The Stand and I was so in a bubble doing the last season that I didn't even know they were doing it. I was like, "Damn it, I missed it again!"
I think The Stand was one particular project I would have really loved to have done. But look, they haven't hired an effects company for the new movie yet, so maybe there's still some hope for us. That's really the big one that comes to mind as the one that got away. It's kind of a hard question to answer because I've been so lucky to get all of the jobs I've really wanted to do. I'm sure there'll be another that pops into my head and be like, "Oh man, I really wish we could have done that movie" but The Stand was one I was truly sad about.
Movies.com: You directed the great short United Monster Talent Agency, and you've done a ton of Walking Dead episodes, but do you have any plans to direct a feature yourself?
Nicotero: I've been approached about a couple movies that I would love to do, I'm just trying to figure out when to do it. Walking Dead is such a full-time job now. We only shoot for seven months, but that doesn't include postproduction, and since I'm directing a lot and am involved in the visual effects aspect of post, we're still delivering episodes up until January. Then we open the writer's room at the end of January and they start writing for the next season, so I'm just trying to figure out when. Robert Kirkman and I have talked about maybe doing a movie together on the hiatus, it's just a matter of how to find the time to squeeze it in the four months we're not on Walking Dead.
Thanks for saying that about UMTA, because I was actually driving into work today and kind of had a brainstorm for a sequel, and now I haven't stopped thinking about it. Right now I'm prepping to direct the season premiere of The Walking Dead, but all day all I can think about is this sequel. Now I have to call Dana Gould, who did a script with me, and say "I've got an idea for the sequel, let's write and shoot it." I swear to God it was this morning I had this great idea and I'm going crazy for it.
Look for the rest of our interview with Greg Nicotero next week.
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