Josh Duhamel Calls Dibs on the Cellar in Night of the Animated Dead

Josh Duhamel (Jupiter's Legacy, Transformers) stars as bully and king of the cellar Harry Cooper in WB Home Entertainment's Night of the Animated Dead. After his brilliant turn(s) as Harvey Dent/ Two Face in Batman: The Long Halloween, Duhamel tries to survive the night in this star-studded reimagining of George A. Romero's 1968 horror classic Night of the Living Dead, which not only created but defined an entire genre of filmmaking. Stranded in an abandoned home with no information other than zombies banging down the door, Harry tries to protect his family from 1960's societal norms and a horde of the Undead in Night of the Animated Dead. Duhamel joins Bleeding Cool to discuss his relationship with the original horror classic, what he would do in a zombie apocalypse, and whether Harry might actually be the protagonist of this movie.

Josh Duhamel Calls Dibs on the Cellar in Night of the Animated Dead
Josh Duhamel as Harry in Night of the Animated Dead Legal Line/Photo Credit:
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Do you think Harry might be the protagonist? Ben's (Dule' Hill) ideas or actions don't really work, and they cause the death of other people. Do you think Harry might be the low-key protagonist of this movie since he has the right idea of hiding in the cellar? 

Josh Duhamel: Whenever I'm playing a character like this who's perceived to be the antagonist, I try not to listen to that and try to get myself into their head and see the world through their eyes. Yes, he was an agitating sort of curmudgeon in a lot of ways. But at the same time, understand that this guy's daughter was sick in the basement and may or may not be infected by whatever is coming at them outside. That doesn't necessarily bring out your best qualities. You're in straight survival mode. That's what we're seeing in this guy. He doesn't give a shit about anybody's feelings or what they think. He just truly wants to get through the night and. You know, if you look at it in retrospect, maybe it was best to go into the cellar. Personally, I would have done what Ben did. I would have tried to fight them off at the threshold of the front door.

Dule' Hill Fights Off the Undead in Night of the Animated Dead
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It's pretty easy to armchair quarterback a zombie apocalypse. What would you do in the event of a zombie apocalypse?

JD: I'm probably trying to find shelter, a situation just like this where you have a house that you can board up, and there's only one way in. I would just try to knock everyone out as they come through the door and try to take them out one by one. The problem is that it's just like this never-ending wave of zombies, and, at some point, they're going to probably overtake you. I don't know. I hope I don't have to make that decision.

Josh Duhamel Calls Dibs on the Cellar in Night of the Animated Dead
Night of the Animated Dead Legal Line/Photo Credit:
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What was your relationship to this original movie? 

JD: I didn't really pay attention to it until I found out I was going to be doing this and watched it through a different lens, obviously. I've never been a huge zombie fan. It's not really my favorite type of movie, but I can respect how groundbreaking this was at the time. This set in motion a whole genre of zombie films. It's a mental maze that you're forced into-  how do I get myself out of this? I find myself yelling at the screen, "No, what are you doing, dummy? Don't run into a tree. What are you running into a tree for? But, part of the fun of these movies is second-guessing the characters in the film. 

Josh Duhamel Calls Dibs on the Cellar in Night of the Animated Dead
Josh Duhamel & Dule Hill in Night of the Animated Dead: Legal Line/Photo Credit:
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I really enjoyed you as Utopian on Jupiter's Legacy. I don't know that fans and Netflix would agree with me, but I thought that was a really good show, and my kids enjoyed it. And that reminded me of when I would watch superhero shows with my father, like Superman or Batman. Did you have any shows growing up that you like to watch Superhero-wise? Who was your favorite superhero? 

JD: The first movie I ever saw was Superman at the Oak Park Theater in Minot, North Dakota, and I just remember being blown away. That, and Star Wars, were the first movies that I got to see. It was fun for me to be able to be on set with my son and see some of that. He just loves superheroes, action figures, and the whole thing in comic books, as I did as a kid. It is unfortunate that we didn't get a second season. I still don't quite know why, the show did really well, but it was expensive, and there were problems and production, all kinds of stuff that I think that they didn't want to deal with. Again, I'm not sure that's a shame, but it was fun. It was a good experience. 

Red band Trailer:

Night Of The Animated Dead Gets Key Art, Releases This Fall
Night of the Animated Dead Cover. Credit WB

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 is available on Digital and on Blu-ray Combo Pack & DVD now.

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About Jimmy Leszczynski

Jimmy Leszczynski has been blurring the line between comics and reality at SDCC every year since 1994, and was a nerd long before Lewis, Gilbert, and the Tri Lamdas made it cool. Middle aged father of 2 that REFUSES to grow up, lifelong Bat-Fan, and he thinks he's pretty funny.
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