The Movie Guide Blog Interviews War of the Dead Director – Marko Mäkilaakso

MG: Where did the Idea come for War of the Dead?
MM: The idea for this film came to me back in 2005. A friend of mine in L.A asked me to come up ideas for a horror movie, so after a brainstorm session and a walk with my friend in Subway station in Helsinki, Finland the idea was born. I wanted to make an epic looking action film with horror elements and a story set in WWII with undead twist felt perfect.

MG: What is the plot of War of the Dead in your own words?
MM: The storyline is very simple. A group of elite Finnish soldiers are in a mission during a war between Finland and Russia and are assist by an American volunteers. Their target is to destroy an enemy bunker, but soon they realize that they are not fighting just a normal enemy. So the plot is very simple and then we follow this survival tale as the soldiers try to survive the hellish night.

MG: Can you tell us the Crew who were on the movie and what where they like to work with?
MM: I had my DP, Hannu-Pekka Vitikainen from Finland who has shot most of my stuff. My Art Director was very talented Kari Kankaanpää and the rest of the crew came from Lithuania, Germany, Bulgaria and America. The Post-production was done in Los Angeles and Rome. One of the greatest thing was to work with the late composer Joel Goldsmith. It was wonderful time as well as working with Neal Acree who did the score with Joel. Great talents! The sound was done at Monkeyland Audio and it was really a perfect place to do the sound world. They got the film and were 100% behind me to make my vision alive. My editor was Michael J. Duthie (Stargate, Universal Soldier, Open range, American Ninja) and I learned alot from him. I also had a privilage to work with great producers like Robbie Little, Ramunas Skikas and Joel Soisson.

MG:  How did the main cast come about and can you tell us about them?
MM: I wrote most of the roles to certain actors in mind and was lucky enough to get them onboard. The production started as a Finnish production and ended up having nothing to do with Finland, except storyline and actors, few crew members wise. Casting Captain Stone was a different story. We approached many talented actors and got rejected also as many times 🙂 But James Van Der Beek got the picture and wanted to make it with me. He was originally casted as Stone. To make a long story short, back in 2006 I shot one week in Lithuania with Olivier Gruner as Captain Stone, when that production was stopped due to lack of financing it took me a year to get again the production on this time with new production companies, producers and some cast members. So Van Der Beek was our Stone until scheduling problems accured and we had to let him go. Corin Nemec replaced him, but things didn’t go as planned with Mr. Nemec , so Andrew Tiernan was hired as Stone after one week into production. He flew in with few days warning and did a great job!

MG: Can you tell us a little about the production of the film and if there was one moment that made it that more special?
MM: For me the greatest thing was the filming period. I was living a dream! Even though I do like the development, Pre and Post-production periods, but the actual shooting is my favorite time. I loved it during this film and the one I did after called „Deadly Descent“. Of course special was when the movie finally was screened at the first time to live audience at Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Finally your film was out there for people to love or hate 🙂

MG: The Final Question is, Can we expect any more great movies from you?
MM: Good question! 🙂 I truly hope that you will see great movies from me. I would like to believe that the answer is YES!

Now that you’ve read the Interview, now have a listen to! 😀


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