Alan Ford and Ashley ‘Bashy’ Thomas talk about ‘Cockneys Vs. Zombies’
Over the years the love for all things zombie has slowly been infecting the world and now it is almost impossible to escape the undead - even Derren Brown has jumped onto the bandwagon with his latest stunt.
For zombies fans feasting off ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’, there is another one to add to the list. ‘Cockneys Vs. Zombies’ is an action-comedy-horror film involving the undead and stars Michelle Ryan, Harry Treadaway, among others.
As the title would suggest it is set in the East End of London and sees a group of bank robbers and pensioners battle their way out of the zombie-infested city.
Neela Debnath was the MCM London Comic Con over the weekend, she spoke to two of the film’s stars Alan Ford and Ashley ‘Bashy’ Thomas about working with professional zombies and their weapon of choice in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
What was it like working on the film?
Alan Ford: It was very good. It’s a very good role and a very funny film and although it was a tough gig, I enjoyed doing it.
Despite being tough, did you enjoy the experience?
AF: I say it was tough because it was an early call every day and a lot of driving to the location, learning lines on the way and coming home covered in blood and dust and rubbish. Getting home about nine, having a kip, up in the morning, learning the lines in the car. It was like that for three weeks for me. But Ashley and I never crossed paths. We worked separately, our scenes were apart from each other, so we never actually met on the set.
Ashley ‘Bashy’ Thomas: It was cool, it was a little bit hard. I think it’s one thing if you’re doing serious drama or something that’s quite naturalistic but then if you’re in a surreal world, where there’s extra blood and there’s crazy gun shots and there’s zombies running around, it can get a bit crazy but it was cool. I could tell that it was going to be good from just the amount of effort that everyone put in. Everyone seemed to be putting in a hundred per cent from the make-up team to even some of the supporting artists. The zombies were real, they were in character. They weren’t messing about which was good.
Was it difficult working around that much prosthetic gore?
AF: Does it matter to me? No, it’s just props, isn’t it?
AT: It is wet sometimes. There’s a scene where my character rips off a zombies head and there was blood everywhere but it’s sticky so it’s cool.
What drew you to the script and the film?
AT: For me, I just thought it was funny. I just thought the jokes were funny. I just enjoyed the story, it had a good arc so I was into it.
AF: I thought it was a good script right from the start but I love the character that I was asked to play. I thought ‘all these lines are actually rolling off my tongue very easily’. When I met the writer on the set on the second day of shooting, I said ‘this is great dialogue, it’s like it could be coming out of my own mouth’. Well, he said: ‘I wrote it with you in mind’. So life doesn’t get better than that, does it really?
How was the atmosphere while filming?
AF: It was very professional. We knew it was funny and very professional because it’s not a big budget film so every second counts. So everybody was on the ball and doing a good professional job.
AT: There’s two separate stories, there’s the old story and the younger story. Our one was mayhem, everyone was just messing about and having a lot of jokes and stuff but I think it’s because we’re all the same age.
AT: Yeah, it was just a lot of jokes and it was cool. But as Alan was saying, everyone was on the ball to make it good. This is the most fun shoot that I’ve been on.
Are you a fan of the horror and zombie genre?
AF: Not particularly, no.
AT: No me either.
AF: I didn’t realise until this film how big this zombie phenomenon is and all these people who are weekend zombies. That’s what makes this film good, we got real zombies. These are not extras dressed up – these are real, professional zombies and they don’t come out of character. They stay in character.
AT: It’s good, it’s good to work with I think as an actor.
AF: Ashley was with the young gang, I was with the old gang and most of us had known each other for 30-odd years or more, so as you can see it was quite an athletic and quite a physical job. We’re all over 70 apart from Georgina Hale who is 69, so she’s the baby on the film, so it was a tough gig.
How would you describe your characters?
AT: I think my character’s dark. Mine has the serious tone throughout the movie. He’s just the darkest character.
AF: He should be in a fucking nut house. He should be banged up this guy.
AT: So, I think that just describes him.
Do you see anything in these characters in yourself?
AT: No, that’s not me. The character’s written so well and because of the sort of genre and the style that it was being shot in, I had the freedom to take him as far as I could really and make him a larger-than-life character. Especially as he was the super villain even though there were zombies, he was like the zombies personified. There weren’t really any bad characters, he’s like the really bad one. So I think once he had the gold tooth, the tattoos, the big jacket, the boots and stuff then I was ready to go. I turned into Mental Mickey, I forgot who I was and I just didn’t care. I just wanted to be bad. I just had a bad vibe.
In a zombie apocalypse, what would be your weapon of choice?
AT: Oh, my shotgun would be the weapon of choice. I think it was very powerful. I was quite jealous of Alan’s machine gun actually. I think that might have been better than my gun
AF: I had an American M16 rifle with a grenade launcher attachment. You can blow their fucking heads right off.
You seem quite attached to it in the film.
AF: I did get very attached to it, didn’t like letting it go in the evening. Didn’t like giving it back.
AT: They were real by the way.
AF: It’s true, they were real guns, that was a real M16.
What other projects are you working on?
AF: I’ve just done a little bit of filming with Johnny Vegas, a TV series for Sky called Tatt as in tattoo, nice to work with Johnny Vegas and I’ve also been playing a Northerner which makes a nice change.
AT: I’m in another film called My brother the devil that comes out in November.
‘Cockneys Vs. Zombies’ is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray
For more information about MCM London Comic Con visit www.mcmexpo.netTagged in: Alan Ford, Ashley Thomas, Bashy, Cockney's Vs Zombies, Derren Brown, Harry Treadaway, Michelle Ryan, Resident Evil, The Walking Dead, zombies
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