Last week we brought you the first exclusive image of Norman Reedus and Djimon Hounsou from the upcoming film AIR (which is directed by Christian Cantamessa and produced by The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman). And then we told you how Norman Reedus broke his toe during filming with an “unmanly move.” Now Reedus Nation will once again be in a frenzy as we present another exclusive image from the upcoming film featuring The Walking Dead favorite. In the photo, we see Reedus as Bauer, one of the two workers (along with Hounsou’s Cartwright) whose job is to maintain an underground bunker filled with sleep tanks set up to preserve the human race after the air outside has been rendered toxic. Naturally, complications arise. Reedus shared his thoughts on the film with us already, and now Robert Kirkman tells us how the movie came together and what to expect when it hits the big screen in the spring of 2015. (Also, make sure to click on the Full Size magnifying glass tab to see a larger high-res version of the photo.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, you’ve conquered TV, comics, and now movies…
ROBERT KIRKMAN: I don’t know if conquered is the right word. I like all forms of entertainment, I hope to get into musical theater later.
EW: Tell me how you came involved in this project.
KIRKMAN: Christian Cantamessa, he worked on Red Dead Redemption, and so I kind of knew who he was, and he had done this zombie short film that I saw, which was really good and kind of in my wheelhouse because I do The Walking Dead. So that’s how I found my way to it. Then I found out he had this script he was looking to produce, and so I got my hands on it, read it, loved it, and ended up coming on board to help them get the thing made.
EW: Describe to me the story in your words.
KIRKMAN: Two guys who have a very strong bond stuck in a bunker together and things go wrong.
EW: They always do! Whenever there’s a bunker in there, things are going to go wrong.
KIRKMAN: And cool stuff happens.
EW: How did you get Norman on board?
KIRKMAN: I don’t like to be away from Norman. It’s a problem that I have, so during the off season when we’re writing scripts for the next season and all that kind of stuff I go through a thing I call “Norman Withdrawal.” Anytime I have any kind of projects going on in the off-season I’ll try to pack it with as much Norman as possible. But Norman just seemed like the perfect guy for the role and I didn’t know if he’d be interested in doing it but I ended up calling him up and talking to him about it and thankfully he seemed really into it. It was actually a fairly casual process. But he’s brought so much to the part and to the project and I couldn’t thank him enough for coming in and deciding to spend his off hours working on this thing.
EW: What about Djimon? How did he get into the mix?
KIRKMAN: Djimon is one of the best actors in Hollywood. He’s actually a pretty funny guy, which I didn’t expect, but we really wanted to get somebody with some power and some gravitas and some authority to offset the silliness of Norman Reedus. And so we thought that Djimon would be perfect for that. I think honestly it’s really just the power of Christian Cantamessa’s script — everyone that read that thing was champing at the bit to get on board. It was actually a pretty easy process bringing in actors for this movie just because of the quality of this script.
EW: What’s this underground bunker going to look or feel like?
KIRKMAN: It’s definitely claustrophobic, it’s definitely isolated, but one of the cool things about it and one of the things that got me really excited about the project when I talked to Christian very early on was this idea of not making it look modern or fancy or polished. It’s very industrial and it’s very realistic and it’s almost a throwback to the science fiction movies of the ’70s and ’80s. It’s definitely a sci-fi atmosphere but it’s much more the first Alien movie than it is J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek — which I think is a really cool look, a really cool visual and definitely adds a lot of mood to it and definitely something we need to see more in sci-fi stuff.
EW: You mentioned the first Alien movie; is there going to be that sort of horror element at play?
KIRKMAN: There is definitely a horror element to it that kind comes into play and the environment certainly lends itself to that. If we were doing a comedy set in this place it would still seem a little scary.
For more ‘AIR’ intel, check out Entertainment Weekly’s Comic-Con preview package, on stands now. Also, follow Dalton on Twitter: Follow @DaltonRoss