Zack Snyder used a unique process for editing Tig Notaro into them Army of the Dead Role.
Zack Snyder’s new Zombie Heist movie has seen some major changes ahead of its release. Comedian Tig Notaro stepped into a role originally played by fellow comedian Chris D’Elia.
D’Elia was accused of persecuting underage girls in June 2020. Although D’Elia continues to deny the allegations, Snyder decided that it would be best to digitally delete D’Elia from the film and instead bring in Notaro to play the snarky helicopter pilot.
Bringing the cast back for new admissions during a pandemic would have been an absolute nightmare. So what did Synder do? He had Notaro do all of their scenes in front of a green screen with no other actors, and Snyder’s team then edited this into the footage they already had.
Snyder and Notaro talked to vulture about this whole process.
Based on their experience, you can digitally replace someone in your film in this way, step by step.
1. Find a replacement
As Geier points out, tIt’s not the first time an actor has been replaced in post-production after being charged with sexual misconduct.
In 2017, Ridley Scott recorded the scenes of Kevin Spacey in All the money in the world with actor Christopher Plummer. Gravity falls has a character originally voiced by Louis CK also re-dubbed in 2017.
When Snyder’s casting director mentioned Notaro for the role, the director told Vulture he thought, “Waiting. Tig. Yes. That’s it.”
Notaro said she was stunned that Snyder wanted her for the film.
“I felt like there was a misunderstanding,” said the actor.
Notaro is known for playing calm, fun roles, including the role of a therapist, who was recently played on the hit Sundance hit Together together. She also plays Engineer Jett Reno up Star Trek: Discovery, a role for which she does limited stunt work. She was understandably nervous about taking a Snyder picture.
“It didn’t seem possible to do what Chris did. We’re so different actors and comedians, ”said Notaro.
But sure, things have changed for the better.
2. Do the preparatory work
Never rush with your preproduction. Not only did Notaro have to learn a part and prepare for the action, but she also had to do it while the COVID-19 precautions were being taken.
“I trained harder in my office through Zoom while my kids played Lego in the next room,” she told Vulture. “I hid it from them, not because they were going to get hurt, but because I didn’t want them to think I had a machine gun. That probably took 20 minutes. ”
Meanwhile, Snyder has edited digitally D’Elia from the movie.
“My supervisor for visual effects, Marcus Taormina, did the job of completely removing Chris from the movie so Tig could have freedom [to move] within the scenes, ”he said.
Snyder’s team also had to re-create the physical sets in a studio in Simi Valley. Notaro had to restrict her movements and speech within these settings in order to fit her lines into existing scenes. She often performed with no other actors present.
“They lined up a piece of duct tape on the floor and said, ‘Okay, you lined up with a group of people. You go into a building. I would say, ‘Is it some kind of Mosey? Okay, I’m going to be mosey, “Notaro told Vulture.” Then Zack could say, “This is a little bit too quick with moseying,” and we’d start over. ”
At one point, Notaro had to pretend he was flying a helicopter while pretending characters were fighting fake zombies during a fake nuclear explosion. Talk about an acting challenge.
“You sit there with all these adults standing 10 feet away while you’re alone, pretending you’re falling,” she said. Oh my god, I feel like an idiot. Can we cope with this?? “
Here, too, Snyder was able to use this process because he had the technical tools and the budget for it. A film on a smaller budget would likely have to rely on creative editing and traditional re-shoots. However, this is a good example of what could be possible as VFX tools and virtual productions become more accessible.
3. Replace the character
To begin the next phase of post-production, Snyder and his team went through Notaros footage to choose the best settings and those that were synced with the dialogue and action.
“Some of the toughest shots were walking in the group,” Snyder told Vulture [camera] Pans and it was difficult to get perspective. It took a few months to get all of the individual effects and make them seamless. Marcus was able to play around and get it working, and [her footage] went in surprisingly easily. ”
They also had a digital version of Notaro that they could include in scenes where things just didn’t work. They used this for background shots where the action did not match. (We hope it isn’t eerie valley!)
Army of the Dead hits select theaters on May 14th and will be available on Netflix on May 21st.
What will Notaro’s performance look like? Let us know in the comments!