SFX - - The Essential Movie Preview - Abi­gail Chan­dler

The best­selling zom­bie novel with a big chewy heart is com­ing to the big screen, di­rected by Peaky Blin­ders and Doc­tor

Who’s Colm McCarthy. With an unusu­ally plant-based take on zom­bie in­fec­tion, it fo­cuses on 11-year-old Me­lanie, who has re­tained her in­tel­li­gence de­spite be­ing in­fected and might be the key to find­ing a cure. She’s taken on a dan­ger­ous trip to the UK’s last re­main­ing city by teacher Miss Justineau (Gemma Arter­ton), sol­dier Sgt Parks (Paddy Con­si­dine) and sci­en­tist Dr Cald­well (Glenn Close), who’d very much like to dis­sect Me­lanie to find out how she ticks.

“Ev­ery time I watch it I feel this ridicu­lous, com­plete hap­pi­ness,” says au­thor MR Carey, who wrote the book and the screen­play con­cur­rently. “For ten months I was just liv­ing in that world, be­ing im­mer­sive, and both the novel and the movie screen­play ben­e­fit­ted from that. The novel be­came more visual and in the movie the in­te­rior life of the char­ac­ters comes across more clearly.”

Carey is de­lighted with the film’s im­pres­sive cast (“I had no idea that [ac­tors of that cal­i­bre] were even an op­tion”), not least Close, whose de­pic­tion of Dr Cald­well is “so self-pos­sessed and so scary and so im­pos­ing”.

The film won’t be a slav­ish copy of the book, with the Junkers char­ac­ters be­ing cut be­cause, on screen, they “felt like they wan­dered in out of Mad Max”. But Carey prom­ises us that the book’s sharper edges haven’t been blunted for the film. “We didn’t tone any­thing down,” he tells SFX. “The end­ing is very faith­ful to the book.”

Wait till Lon­don Trans­port hear about this!

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