Dulé Hill Fights Off the Undead in Night of the Animated Dead
Dulé Hill (The West Wing, Psych) stars in WB Home Entertainment's Night of the Animated Dead is available for digital download. A re-imaging of George Romero's horror classic Night of the Living Dead, which not only creates but defines an entire genre of filmmaking. Hill, whose new series The Wonder Years premieres on ABC on September 22, provides the voice of Ben. Recently Hill joined Bleeding Cool to share his relationship with the original movie and whether or not Ben has the best plan to survive the night.
What was your relationship with this movie coming into the project?
Dule' Hill: I was aware of the movie; I knew that it was an iconic movie, and I'd seen the movie before. But I'm not really one who dives deep into the world of horror. I'm not somebody who likes to be scared like that. I saw a poltergeist once when I was a kid, and that just killed it for me. As I get older, I'm starting to endeavor more into them. I was younger, and I was very aware of the movie because of the fact that it had an African-American lead back in 1968. I knew that that was a groundbreaking thing at the time. It's always on my radar, and when the opportunity came for me to play the role, I knew exactly what the film was and exactly what the role was. I was extremely excited to jump at the opportunity.
You played Ben, you mentioned he's the lead, But all of his ideas and actions caused the death of the other characters. Had they listened to Harry (Josh Duhamel), they might have survived the night. Do you think that Ben is the protagonist or the antagonist of the story?
DH: I do think Ben is the protagonist. I thought the same thing, it is, that it's possible that they could have survived the night, but it's also possible that they could not have because all of what they were doing, it kept the zombies at bay; I don't know if they'd just follow Harry and didn't try to defend themselves that would have held up throughout the night. There is something that you take from heightened emotions and sometimes antagonistic behavior; it is still important to pause and try to listen. That may have been Ben's fatal flaw, not being able to listen to another point of view. (Ben and Harry) take two different approaches to knowing that there's a challenge, but it's important to stay open to other points of view where they made it through the night. You know, that would be interesting to see. They would have held up if they were down and locked in the basement; would that barricade have held up throughout the night? That I don't know.
This animated version colored outside the lines of the original, filling in a bit some bits of story and lots of gore,
DH: Because it was animated, they were able to highlight some things that were not done in the film, even some of the story that Ben says about Beekman's Diner. Because you're not moving locations, it's animation; you're able to now show a little bit more of that on-screen. I think the people who enjoyed the original, seeing the animated version will be a nice treat for them. It will deepen their experience. Yeah, I loved it with the film.
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Attempting to survive the farmhouse standoff is a mouthful of voice talent, including Josh Duhamel (Transformers, Jupiter's Legacy) as Harry Cooper, Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps, American Mary) as Barbara, Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) as Judy, Will Sasso as (Mad TV, The Three Stooges) Sheriff McClelland, and Nancy Travis (So I Married an Axe Murderer, Last Man Standing) as Helen Cooper. The voice cast also includes a mini Psych reunion with Dulé Hill (Psych, Ballers) as Ben, James Roday Rodriguez (Psych, A Million Little Things) as Tom, and Jimmi Simpson (Westworld, Psych) as Johnny. Night of the Animated Dead is directed by Jason Axinn (To Your Last Death) and is produced by Michael J Luisi, Ralph E. Portillo, Robert Feldman, and Kevin Kasha. Executive producers are Richard Potter, Thomas DeFeo, and Jamie Elliott.
Night of the Animated Dead arrives on Digital today, September 21, and on Blu-ray Combo Pack & DVD on October 5.