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Army of the Dead: Dave Bautista gave up Suicide Squad role to lead Zack Snyder’s zombie-heist movie

By Vanessa Armstrong
Army of the Dead

Zack Snyder’s upcoming Netflix movie, Army of the Dead, revolves around a crew of thieves who want to rob a casino in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. The film is a genre mashup, one that Snyder says will be “a full-blown, balls-to-the-wall zombie heist movie,” via a new preview from Entertainment Weekly

The film stars Dave Bautista of Guardians of the Galaxy fame. Bautista’s enthusiasm for the part, however, appears to have been a gradual thing.

“I said I wasn’t interested,” Bautista told EW when asked what his first response to joining the production was. “I had this chip on my shoulder and was looking for juicy [dramatic roles]. Then I read the script and it was a lot deeper and had more layers than I thought. And also, to be quite frank, I wanted to work with Zack.”

According to the outlet, Bautista’s commitment to the film caused him to give up a role in Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn’s upcoming DCEU film, The Suicide Squad.

Army of the Dead

And Bautista isn’t the only one committed to Snyder’s zombified universe — Netflix has already greenlit Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas, a four-hour anime prequel that explains how the world became chock full of zombies.

"I've done a very deep dive with the why of the zombie plague and where it starts," Snyder said about Lost Vegas. "Sufficed to say, that it does come from Area 51 — that's in the film's opening scene — and then the whole cast is in the animated series, along with Christian Slater as the bad guy. We really do a super deep dive on where this like zombie plague came from."

In addition to Bautista, Army of the Dead stars Ella Purnell, Ana De La Reguera, Theo Rossi, Huma Qureshi, Omari Hardwick, Tig Notaro, Hiroyuki Sanada, Garret Dillahunt, Matthias Schweighöfer, Raúl Castillo, Nora Arnezeder, and Samantha Win.

Army of the Dead will stream on Netflix sometime in 2021; no news yet on when the prequel anime series will air.