Day Of The Dead: Keenan Tracey & Natalie Malaika Discuss SYFY Series

SYFY's Day Of The Dead is a fresh arterial spray on televised Zombie troupes that have arguably become bloated and stagnant. With a story that weaves its way through references to all of George A. Romero's "Dead" series, SYFY's take covers unique kills in plenty of gore, and a comedic touch, that fans are sure to find refreshing. This ode to Romero's famous flesh-eaters reminds us that sometimes all it takes to bring people together is a horde of hungry zombies trying to rip them apart. On a break from trying to survive this undead invasion, series stars Keenan Tracey (Bates Motel) and Natalie Malaika (Fractured) join Bleeding Cool to chat about their relationship with the original Day of the Dead and why this show is different from all the other zombie series.

SyFy's Dawn Of The Dead Stars Keenan Tracey & Natalie Malaika
DAY OF THE DEAD — "The Thing in the Hole" Episode 101 — Pictured: Zombies — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/DOTD S1 Productions/SYFY)

You play Cam and Lauren in SYFY's "Day of the Dead."  Can you tell me a little about their relationship with each other?

Keenan Tracey: Cam and Lauren have this sort of witty banter. He's obviously head-over-heels about her, but she's totally out of his league. I have said, a little older, a lot cooler, and he's trying to prove himself to her and struggling. I think that that develops. That's where we start off and that takes place over time. 

Natalie Malaika: Cam really balances her out because Lauren is this very badass, go-go-type of character. When this apocalypse hits their town, she's like, 'Come on Cam, let's leave these suckers.' but Cam really levels her out and is the compassionate side. I think they bring a nice contrast to each other. 

SyFy's Dawn Of The Dead Stars Keenan Tracey & Natalie Malaika
DAY OF THE DEAD — "The Thing in the Hole" Episode 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Keenan Tracey as Cam McDermott, Natalie Malaika as Lauren Howell — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/DOTD S1 Productions/SYFY)

What's your relationship with the original George A. Romero "Day of the Dead" or zombies in general? 

KT: They've always been favorites of mine. Horror is one of my favorite genres, I started watching horror movies way too young and I won't say it desensitized me, but it definitely made me good at watching. I've always loved it. Because we started watching it so young, it's kind of against the rules and it feels like you're like breaking a rule to watch it. You feel like you're this weird exception. You feel this special because no one else your age gets to see this, but you did.

NM: I've always loved horror growing up. I remember now reflecting on it, I don't understand why, as a child, it's scary. "Freddy vs. Jason" was very scary to me as a child, But when you watch it now, you're just kind of like, 'All right.' But I loved horror. I loved zombies and all the blood and gore. That's my baby. So this is an absolute treat being a part of this show.

DAY OF THE DEAD
DAY OF THE DEAD — "The Thing in the Hole" Episode 101 — Pictured: Natalie Malaika as Lauren Howell — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/DOTD S1 Productions/SYFY)

You can't really swing a dead cat without hitting another zombie property or a zombie apocalypse show. What's going to make SYFY's "Day of the Dead" stand out above the horde? 

KT: I think the passing of the baton from the Romero legacy, I think I think the guys did a really good job of carrying that forward. I think that's an important legacy to honor because you and I both know how great it was, how much we like it, and how much how many other people love it as well. And I know we had big shoes to fill. But I feel like that set the bar high and made everyone work harder and gave us something to shoot towards. And I feel like we did a good job of that.

DAY OF THE DEAD
DAY OF THE DEAD — "The Thing in the Hole" Episode 101 — Pictured: Keenan Tracey as Cam McDermott — (Photo by: Sergei Bachlakov/DOTD S1 Productions/SYFY)

What do you think fans will be most excited about? 

NM: I think fans are going to be really excited to see the way in which we pay homage to Romero. I think fans are going to be very curious to see how we pay homage and how we are keeping Romero's legacy alive. 

KT:  And just as a horror buff in general, in addition to what Natalie said. I think people are just really going to like it. I think it is a really good job of holding the tone throughout and being scary, and it's technically horror and gore and thriller. But at the same time, it's also comedy and I've always had a pretty dark sense of humor. So it's nice. I feel like the comedy and taking things a little bit that way with the comedy is what enables us to go so so far with the violence and the gore. It kind of balances it out. And I think the way to make the bloodiest, glorious, most violent thing is to pair it with comedy, and that's the only way you can do that without it just being like too much.

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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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