Posted August 23, 2012 by Alex Moss Editor in Features
 
 

Writer James Moran


Baring judicious use of a pump action shotgun and chainsaw, it’s hard to keep a good zombie down. Which is good news, because, this week, Brit comedy-horror, Cockneys Vs Zombies makes its cinema debut. FilmJuice caught up with the movie’s scriptwriter, James Moran, to chat about Hammer horror, Dr Who, and just why he has always had an irresistible urge to write about the undead …

Baring
judicious use of a pump action shotgun and chainsaw, it’s hard to keep a good
zombie down. Which is good news, because, this week, Brit comedy-horror,
Cockneys Vs Zombies makes its cinema debut. FilmJuice caught up with the
movie’s scriptwriter, James Moran, to chat about Hammer horror, Dr Who, and
just why he has always had an irresistible urge to write about the undead …

What
has been your biggest influence as a writer?
Pretty much all the horror films I watched when I was
growing up as a kid that I probably shouldn’t even have been watching. I stayed
up late to watch the Hammer horror films, rented the 18 Certificate videos from
the local video shop when I was 12 or 13 because they didn’t really care. So,
yeah, just a lifetime of watching horror and sci-fi movies, has all kind of
gone into my head. I’ve been wanting to write a zombie film since I was a kid
so when they invited me to talk about it at the pitch, I’d written up pages and
pages of notes of all the things that I thought should be in this movie based
on the title and they liked all of them so I thought ‘well, that was easy’.
Then they let me put them all in the movie which was crazy. It was really good
fun to write because I couldn’t believe I was getting away with it!

Before
you started scripting movies, you worked on Dr Who. What’s it like to be
involved in such an iconic show and what pressures does that put on you as a
writer?

It was one of the most terrifying days of my life,
that Monday when I sat down to start. I sat there for two hours and I just
stared at the computer screen because I’d written ‘interior of TARDIS’ and I
thought ‘do I put the day, because they’re in space?’ ‘Day or night, I don’t
know’ and then it just started spiralling and I thought ‘I can’t do this’. I’d
been watching Doctor Who since I was a kid and that adulation made me think
that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t important enough and I wrote the first line
the doctor said and thought ‘no, he wouldn’t say that because I just made that
up.’ It was just crazy so I spent the day writing one scene and I just let it
go on for pages and pages just having them talking about nothing and nonsense
and then, after a few pages, I’d kind of gotten into the rhythm of it and it
felt normal again. Once I’d got past it, I just treated it like any other
story, like ‘right, I’m telling the story. How can I make people excited and
interested?’

Which
Dr Who episode do you wish you’d written?
Oh god, loads of them! The first one I can remember is
City Of Death which is one of my
favourites, that’s a Doug Adams one. Genesis
Of The Daleks
is an amazing one. Oh wow loads, loads of them. All of them!
I wish I’d written all of them!

Your
next film, Tower Block, comes out in September, can you give us any hints about
it?

That is a dark thriller. It couldn’t be more different
to Cockneys Vs. Zombies. It is a dark, gritty thriller about a bunch of people
in a tower block who are held captive by a sniper who’s in the building
opposite. It’s about how they deal with it, how do they attempt to get out,
what they do because there are dead bodies everywhere and he’s not coming into
get them, he’s just waiting until they pop their head up or try to get out.
It’s a relentless, non stop thriller, edge-of-your-seat kind of job and I’m
really excited about seeing how the audience reacts on the first night because,
ever since I wrote the very first draft, I got to a certain scene and I thought
‘If this works then the audience is going to crap themselves’. So I won’t be
watching the film at that point, I’ll be looking around the cinema, seeing how
people react because they will not be expecting it.

How
involved in the filming process do you get?

I try to spend as much time on set as possible because
I think, if you’ve written the script, you should be available to answer
questions and to help out. If there’s a big dialogue scene, I make sure I’m
there on that day in case they want a rewrite or some extra lines or something.
For Cockneys Vs. Zombies, I was on set quite a bit, but after the first few
days it was all going so smoothly I thought ‘I don’t actually need to be here,
this is when I can relax’. But I kept coming back to watch because it was just
so much fun! It’s just really good fun watching something that you’ve created
come to life because you forget that it’s yours and you start thinking you’re
watching any other film being shot and then you go ‘I recognise that line. Oh
yeah I wrote this!’ It’s so bizarre and it will never get old.

If
you weren’t a writer, what would you like to do?

As a kid I wanted to be either a fireman, a stuntman
or an actor but, to be honest, I don’t think I’m good at anything else but
writing. I worked as computer tech support for a few years which I was good at
but I hated it because computers just made me very angry. Maybe an actor, even
though I can’t act, because it’s been such a primitive thing in me for so long,
I was drawn to movies at a very young age, so if I didn’t work in film I’d
probably just go and get a job in a cinema.

Cockneys
Vs. Zombies is released on 31st August.


Alex Moss Editor

 
Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com