Prior to his tragic death, George A. Romero was busy writing a novel titled ‘The Living Dead.’ Much like the zombies that he turned into a mainstream phenomenon, this book refuses to stay dead! Working on completing this book will be Daniel Kraus (‘The Shape of Water’) for TOR.
Outside of his work on the novelization of Guillermo Del Toro’s fan-favorite film, Kraus also has written “The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch” series and ‘Rotters.’
In agreeing to work on the project, he cites Romero as one of his first inspirations on getting into writing fiction:
“I could talk all day about George. He’s the reason I’m a writer. He might be the reason I’m interested in art, period. When I think back on all the artists who might have inspired me, I feel so lucky and so thankful that it was George — for his sense of humanity, his unacceptance of social injustice, his adamant refusal to let the human race off the hook.”
Romero has always used social commentary in his films and with ‘Night of the Living Dead,’ he put the modern zombie squarely on society’s radar. Kraus was also impressed with how Romero changed his tactics in later films and other mediums:
“Beginning with [2007’s] Diary of the Dead, George had moved into a new phase of thinking about zombies, with an intent to cycle them through genres. Diary was found-footage; [2009’s] Survival was a western. His next one was supposed to be a film noir, complete with black-and-white photography and a 1.33:1 aspect ratio.”
While Romero was used to working with smaller budgets in film, the novel was taking things in an entirely different direction for the creator:
“What’s exciting about the novel, though, is how it goes the opposite direction. It’s huge. It’s a massively scaled story, a real epic, the kind no one ever gave him the budget for in film. In a book, of course, there is no budget, and in his pages you can feel his joy of being able, at last, to do every single thing he wanted.”
Romero had been working on the book on and off for over a decade. With his passing both his manager, Chris Roe and wife Suzanne Desrocher Romero went on a quest to have his last great project finished. Outside of Kraus, the novel is set to be edited by Brendan Deneen who worked on ‘The Walking Dead’ books.
As to how complete the work was when Kraus took over?
“The state [of the manuscript] varied. Some of it was in tremendous, publish-ready state. Other parts, near of the end of what he wrote, were sketchier, clearly intended to be fleshed out later.”
Kraus hasn’t just tried to take over the work but fully immerse himself in what Romero had done and would have been inspired by while putting this together:
“Only half the job I’m doing is finishing this book. The other half is putting George back together, in a sense — not just from reading his every obscure interview and analyzing his every obscure work, but also immersing myself in the art that he loved. I’m studying his favorite movies, watching his favorite operas, listening to his favorite music, all in an attempt to find in them the inspirations he might have found. I’m taking thematic and structural cues from these works and working them into the book. It’s not like having George next to me, but it’s what I have, and I’m treasuring every moment of it.”
While it is sad that Romero wasn’t able to complete ‘The Living Dead’ on his own, it should be in capable hands.
Do you plan on picking up ‘The Living Dead’ when it is released and dive head first into Romero’s final novel? What do you think we can expect from something that would have needed a big budget to do as a film? Share your thoughts below!
On October 24th, John Doe rises from the dead. Assistant Medical Examiner Luis Acocella and his assistant Charlene Rutkowksi are vivisecting him when it happens, and so begins a global nightmare beyond comprehension.
Greer Morgan is a teenager living in a trailer park, and when the dead begin their assault, the true natures of her neighbors are revealed. Chuck Chaplin is a pretty-boy cable-news anchor, and the plague brings sudden purpose to his empty life.
Karl Nishimura is the helmsman of the U.S.S. Vindicator, a nuclear submarine, and he battles against a complete zombie takeover of his city upon the sea. And meanwhile, a mysterious woman named Etta Hoffmann records the progress of the epidemic from a bunker in D.C., as well as the broken dreams and stubborn hopes of a nation not ready to give up.
Spread across three separate time periods and combining Romero’s biting social commentary with Kraus’s gift for the beautiful and grotesque, the book rockets forward as the zombie plague explodes, endures, and finally, in a shocking final act, begins to radically change.”
‘The Living Dead’ is scheduled to be released in the Fall of 2019.
Source: Entertainment Weekly