War Monkeys: Sammo Hung, apes with guns, what's not to love?

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Kevin Munroe, who is directing War Monkeys, told SCI FI Wire that martial-arts actor Sammo Hung will play one of the humans in the sci-fi movie, about two janitors who get stuck in an underground research facility and run into a bunch of military-trained war monkeys who have been released in the building.

Speaking in an interview on Monday, Munroe (TMNT) said he can't announce the rest of the cast yet. "It's running just a couple weeks behind where Dead of Night is, and we're doing the same, where we're sort of making lists and calling people and talking. ... There's a couple of really great people we're talking about for the other role against Sammo. And then there's a whole other cadre of people for a couple of days at a time, and it will be really fun cameo kind of stuff."

Munroe said that he is set to begin filming the movie right after he finishes his Italian-comic-book-based supernatural horror film Dead of Night, which is set to start in late March/early April.

We asked him if he was prepared to work with monkeys, since he told us that he's using as many real ones as possible. "We've been doing a lot of talking about how we're going to pull it off," he said. "Coming from animation, most of animation is prep, as opposed to live action. ... We're sort of taking more of an animation approach, where you have to basically design the sequences as much as possible. We're going to go through the shots and then pick what's going to be CG monkeys, what's going to be practical monkeys and what's going to be puppet monkeys. ... The second you look at it and you doubt whether the monkey's real, you've sort of lost the illusion. ... I am prepped to do it. I've heard nothing but horror stories about rhesus monkeys, but I'm sure they're very nice once you get to know them."

About the story, Munroe said, "I've been going back and forth with Cleve [Nettles], the writer, about the script and stuff. It feels really good, because both this and Dead of Night, ... they're both way smarter than most people would give a movie like that credit for, especially with War Monkeys. It could so easily just be a goof B movie, but it's a good little story. And the characters are very relatable, ... but, at the same time, it's set against this really violent, really sort of rank comedy. But it's great."

War Monkeys is based on a script by Nettles and story by Chris Patton. The movie will be produced by Dark Horse Indie.