What can I say? Canadians like their zombie films.
Bruce McDonald takes a foray into the gruesome
McDonald, who’s made nine feature films, including Highway 61 and The Tracey Fragments, spent a decade pursuing a more ambitious, expensive adaptation of the novel, attracting along the way the interest of such unlikely names as R.E.M lead singer and film producer Michael Stipe. But financing inevitably fell through, usually over artistic differences.
“The concept itself was just so fantastic,” McDonald says, “and that’s what kept us going all these years.” Burgess wrote what he calls a “garbage can full of drafts,” before he and McDonald arrived at the current incarnation, almost by accident. Coincidentally, the CBC asked McDonald for a radio play – “a kind of War of the Worlds thing” – and, in six months they turned in a more focused version of Pontypool using one location and just a few actors. “The CBC,” says Burgess, “went â..yikes,’ then â..yes,’ then â..yikes’ again.”