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SYFY WIRE The Dead Don't Die

Daniel Craig got bumped from The Dead Don't Die over Adam Driver's schedule

By Jacob Oller
The Dead Don't Die Adam Driver

Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die attracted a rabid horde of fans with its first star-studded trailer, but it turns out that having so many A-listers around can make shooting a little tricky. Especially when Bill Murray’s involved. Jarmusch collected an incredible cast, which means complications were bound to arise when scheduling such top-caliber actors — even those who didn’t make the cut, like James Bond himself.

That’s right, according to an interview the legendary indie director did with the The New York Times, Daniel Craig was supposed to have a role in The Dead Don’t Die. Why didn’t 007 take out any undead or chomp on some unsuspecting police officers? Well, when you have two major franchise stars competing for time, hard choices must be made.

“I wrote a part for Daniel Craig, who I love,” the director explained. “And he said, ‘Jim, I got 10 days, and they are yours, but that’s the only thing I have all summer.’” It’s unclear what Craig was working on at the time, since the complicated production of Bond 25 had not yet started. However, the production for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker certainly had begun, which meant that Adam Driver’s schedule was a shaping force for the movie.

“Those were the only days when I had Adam, who I had to shoot every day,” Jarmusch said. “So I just took [Craig’s] character out of the script, because I didn’t want to do it at all [if he couldn’t]. I probably had too many characters anyway. But that was my only disappointment.”

There was definitely plenty of fun on set, too. Iggy Pop was done up in full-blown zombie-decay makeup, which was only the first step to his nasty genre inoculation. “The first time that I had to get down on my knees and eat [another character’s] guts,” the musician/actor said, “I did not want to do that. I wanted to do it intellectually, but I had a dry heave. After that, I got into it.” This is in direct opposition to star Bill Murray, who was in his element (chaos) from the start. And that start involved kidnapping his co-workers.

“We had a lot of rain, and we’d have to stop,” Jarmusch explained. “So Bill [Murray] had Adam and Chloë [Sevigny] in that police car, and he just drove off with them. For about an hour.” The trio played cops in the film, and they were all in costume when this hooky-playing took place. Without money, phones, or gas, the actors took off with the police car’s lights flashing, according to Driver.

They went to a farm stand and “we go in and get all this bounty on an IOU,” Sevigny said. “He just said, ‘Do you mind if we get some stuff, and we’ll pay you back?’” Driver said of Murray’s cop-impersonating antics. “When they saw the lights, they were confused, but once they saw Bill, it was all fine.”

Sure the producers were mad, but with magic like that happening behind the scenes, obviously some of that camaraderie made it into the film. Right?

Fans can find out for themselves when The Dead Don’t Die hits theaters on June 14.