If Arnold Schwarzenegger is starring in a zombie film does that mean that zombies have officially jumped the shark in pop culture? Or does that simply mean that zombies are only just now beginning to become awesome due to Schwarzenegger’s presence?
That remains to be seen, and your gut-response to this gravest of quandaries probably depends on your opinion of Schwarzenegger or zombies or both or perhaps just your mood at this very minute. However, this is happening, and once you read more about it you may find out this sounds nothing like the Terminator vs. Zombies mash-up you might have expected.
According to The Hollywood Report, Abigail Breslin (whose star-making performance in Little Miss Sunshine happened an impossibly long-sounding 7 years ago) has almost been cast to play Schwarzenegger’s daughter and the title role in Maggie:
The actress is in talks to star opposite Schwarzenegger in the zombie film Maggie, based on a Black List script from John Scott 3 about a father (Schwarzenegger) whose daughter, Maggie (Breslin), is infected by a walking-dead virus that has spread across the country.
Awww. Could this be like a Terms of Endearment zombie film the same way this year’s Warm Bodies was a romantic comedy zombie film? Actually, the answer is yes. The script for Maggie was a hot commodity a couple of years ago when it ended up industry-beloved website blcklist.com, which lists unpublished scripts which according to surveys of 500 film executives are the most popular and sought after scripts in Hollywood at the time. According to one review of the first draft of Maggie, the story uses zombie-ism as an allegory for cancer. Individuals who are bitten and thus contract the zombie virus do not transition into becoming zombies for 6 months. As such, once infected they typically return home to spend their final time with loved ones to ultimately be submitted to the government and interned at the end of the 6 months.
That’s the set-up for Maggie, and the story mostly centers on the relationship with the father and his daughter and coming to terms with her impending death (or living death, really). Did the father fail her by not preparing her properly for the world she went out into and came back to him infected? Did she fail him? What kind of God would allow this?
Throw in a 3-breasted prostitute, and you’ve got your standard Arnold Schwarzenegger film, right? Sarcasm aside, this is an obviously odd fit for Schwarzenegger, and it’s highly possible the script has undergone massive changes since he joined as both star and producer. For one thing, at 65-years-old he seems to have aged himself out of believably playing the role of the father since Maggie is supposed to be 16-years-old with the 17-year-old Abigail Breslin all but set to play the role. By that age differential with the current cast, the father would have been almost 50 by the time the daughter was born. Granted, that kind of thing happens in real life, but it seems like something the script would need to explain but will probably just ignore.
This is a project which makes sense for Breslin, who has played in the zombie genre before in 2009’s cult classic Zombieland. Not so much for ole Terminator Arnie. Since returning to acting after his stint as the Governator, Schwarzenegger has followed Sylvester Stalone’s lead somewhat in adopting a slightly tongue-in-cheek film persona in The Expendables 2 and The Last Stand. He also has a team-up movie with Stalone, Escape Plan, due out this October and an ensemble action thriller (Sabotage) due out next January. Beyond that, there are the inevitable rumors of his involvement with another Terminator, Twins or Conan film, and the eventual Expendables sequel. Based upon the script from 2 years ago, Maggie is the real outlier in that bunch.
However, production is supposed to begin in the Fall, and Henry Hobson is on board to make his directorial debut after toiling away as a commercial director and turning heads by designing the opening and end title sequences of recent films like The Help, The Lone Ranger, Rango, and Snow White & The Huntsman.
Admit it – aren’t you curious to see how the heck this thing turns out, even with its obvious potential for failure?