They say war is hell, but what happens when the figurative becomes the literal?
That's the central premise of Bad Robot's upcoming World War II horror/sci-fi thriller Overlord. Starting off with the D-Day landings in June of 1944, the movie (produced by J.J. Abrams and directed by Julius Avery) skids sharply into the realm of alternate history when a group of American soldiers stumble upon a grisly, twisted, and supernatural Nazi science program in occupied France.
For one thing, Avery said that the film is like a classic Spielberg franchise taken up to 11.
“It was a dream come to true to be able to work with J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot. They do really cool stuff, really unexpected stuff, and when I first read the script, it was like … Indiana Jones on acid. So I was in, I was hooked," the filmmaker revealed. "It was a lot of fun to be able to use [D-Day as] that jumping-off point, where you have this really intense, emotional entrance into the film, and then you sort of follow these characters and they have to go into Hell.”
The project's intrepid cast consists of Wyatt Russell (Lodge 49), Pilou Asbæk (Game of Thrones), Dominic Applewhite (The King's Speech), Iain De Caestecker (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and Mathilde Ollivier.
"When they [asked] me, 'You wanna be an evil Nazi?' ... I was like, f*** yeah, man!" said Asbæk, who plays one of the villanous Germans. The Danish actor made a splash (after all, he's from the Iron Islands) as the sleazy Euron Greyjoy on HBO's Game of Thrones.
Russell (son of Kurt), on the other hand, plays one of the U.S. paratroopers that must put a stop to the devious Axis plot. Working with Avery on such a gonzo project didn't intimidate the actor in the slightest, thanks to the director's strong vision.
"It was great, because [Julius] really had a vision of what he wanted to do. He had a feeling. Not everybody that you work with always have a feeling of what they want."
"It was Christmas Day every day," added Ollivier, who portrays a French villager bearing witness to the Nazis' unspeakable experiments. "She's very genuine, she's very strong, she's a fighter, and she [fights] a lot to protect her family. And she's honest, so I think people will connect with her, hopefully."
Applewhite provided that this movie will blow your mind and undermine every single expectation you might have for it. As Avery said, this is Indy on crack, but we like to think of it as Saving Private Ryan, Dead Snow, and Inglourious Basterds becoming one entity inside of Seth Brundle's matter transporter and then smoking a sh** ton of bath salts.
"It's a pretty relentless movie," Applewhite said. "It sort of begins kind of immediately and you're just like, 'What on Earth is gonna happen?' I think that's great for this kind of genre film, because it's quite easy for movies when you know that they're in a certain genre, you kinda know what's gonna happen. And I think, deliberately, this movie kind of subverts that in many cases. Hopefully, you're gonna leave the theater being like, 'What did I just watch?'"
As the first R-rated feature to come from Bad Robot, Overlord invades theaters everywhere on Friday, Nov. 9.
"Between the war elements, the language, and then [a] Nazi lab, it gets hard to make a PG-13 movie," said producer Lindsey Weber. "Julius is definitely an R-rated director in the best possible way ... You're in for a lot of surprises ... I hope you leave the theater feeling really good and empowered."