Zombie stories have definitely found their way to the top of popular culture over the last decade. Across all mediums, these tales have found themselves gaining massive followings. We here at Turnabout are no different: WE LOVE ZOMBIES.
You might recall our recent interview with Hilton Ariel Ruiz, the creator of Zombie With a Shotgun. We were intrigued by such an interesting concept and felt we needed to know more. Then we came across Ryan Coonan’s Waterborne, a film about zombie kangaroos (or zombieroos as he affectionately refers to them) and we might have been willing to say we’d officially seen everything there was to see in the zombie genre. When you finish this interview, like the one with Ruiz, you might find independent cinema has a few more surprises in store. In short: We haven’t seen anything yet!
We’ve seen a lot of things, one thing we’ve never seen however is zombie kangaroos. Where did the idea for “Zombieroos” come from?
Kangaroos may not be traditionally the scariest of animals, however having grown up in country Victoria, I have seen the aggression they are capable off. I was once chased by a mob of Kangaroos and was forced to climb a tree to escape. I’ve always had a healthy fear and respect Kangaroos. There is something terrifying about Zombies, the undead relentlessly pursuing you, never tiring, never giving up; add kangaroos into that mix and a zombie outbreak is even more terrifying.
So I think this personal experience with Kangaroos and the need find a new point of difference for the zombie genre lead us to the creation of Rippy, the worlds first zombieroo.
For a short, independent film, this one is definitely capable of competing with larger scale productions within the genre. What skills and experience do you and your crew have that made this possible?
Everyone involved in this project bought a tonne of experience with them. Most crew work professionally in the film and TV industry and were keen to be involved in a fun project. We were very fortunate to have so many talented and skilled people working on this project.
This project is quite ambitious and many would’ve been afraid to take on the task of making a zombie kangaroo come to life. Was there ever a fear this would not appear realistic and would come off looking cheap and campy?
It wasn’t until quite late in the piece that we were confident that Rippy our zombieroo could actually inspire fear. Larry and the incredible team at Third Eye FX are the wonderful and talented guys behind the design and construction of our zombieroo. Once we laid eyes on Rippy I started to feel like it might do the job, but it wasn’t until all the pieces of the puzzle came together that I was really happy with what we did.
The idea of a zombie kangaroo is so ridiculous that asking people to suspend their disbelief was always a concern. However, the combined skills of our amazing team has created something that has been scaring people all over the world.
Your website says you raised over $17,000 for the construction of the kangaroo puppet. Can you tell us about the team who constructed it and explain the process behind its creation?
Larry and his team at Third Eye FX are the crazy talented guys behind the design and construction of Rippy. The process involved Larry working his magic from concept drawings, to latex moulds and the amazing finishing touches of the eyes, fur and teeth. To be honest I don’t know exactly how they did it – but I’m glad it turned out as good as it did. It makes for a very expensive puppet at over 17,000 dollars but its worth every dollar. Without Rippy we wouldn’t have a film.
It’s worth mentioning that over 250 amazing supporters through our crowd funding campaign helped us raise over the money; over 17,000 dollars to go towards making the first, best and possibly the only zombieroo puppet ever made !
We see the project was invited to numerous film festivals. What was the response you received and how have audiences reacted?
I have been so fortunate to attend several international and local festivals where we have screened. It’s so interesting to see how different audiences react to the film. Some find it very funny and laugh all the way through, others have been drawn in by the darker tone and have jumped out of their seats! One thing that all audiences seem to embrace is the fun in seeing a cute little kangaroo turn into a blood thirsty predator.
Your film has been on Vimeo for only a few weeks and it has already become a viral sensation. Were you expecting it to take off the way it has?
We are so pleased to finally release the film online. So many awesome people have followed the project from the start, but not everyone has been able to see the finished film at a festival, so having it online has been great. We always hoped that it would find an audience and with nearly 50 thousand views in the first two weeks it looks as though it will continue to find an audience around the world. We are very excited to see it doing so well.
You’ve stated this a prequel to an upcoming feature. Where are you at in that process and can you give us an idea of what we should expect? Do we meet any other zombie creatures?
Waterborne was always intended as a proof of concept project for a feature film. We always wanted it to stand alone, however the intention was definitely to use it as a calling card to obtain interest in a feature. At this stage we are still trying to put together all the pieces to get the feature off the ground. But you can rest assured Rippy will have plenty of mates by his side. Without giving too much away, there is definitely plans for some other native animals to pop up, how could we make the feature and not include the infamous Australian drop bear!