A while back I had the pleasure of catching up with a good friend of mine, Author and Screen Play Writer, Rob Fox. Recently he has been on the promotion trail of a film he is involved with known as Ace the Zombie. I was curious about it, so I sat down chat about it. I wish I could have made it to the showing at Days od the Dead II: Atlanta…Fate, however, did not allow that…I will get to that later. Anyway, let’s catch up with Mr. “Z Day is Here” Rob Fox. Put on your favorite furry costume and play some Samantha Fox. This is…
Dead Serious with Rob Fox
Malice Psychotik: So it’s been a while since you were last on here…Hell it’s been a year…whats new?
Rob Fox: Mainly writing. Though that is not my full-time job, it takes up quite a bit of my spare time. Seems like I always have something going on writing-wise. I am taking a small break from the convention scene this year and will only do one or two, since last year kicked my ass! Currently I am writing a Serial Killer script for a couple of producers and hope to start filming early 2012. I have a cartoon I am trying to pitch to the large networks, and a script about self cannibalism that I am trying to sell to a producer. Novel –wise, I am working on a Cryptozoology anthology with an author friend of mine (Alisha Sams), and as always, still banging away on “Z Day 2”.
Malice: How’s the writing been going?
Fox: The writing has been fantastic! I have almost completely switched from short story/ novel-writing to screenplay writing. I like the style much better and really enjoy seeing my words spoken through characters on the screen.
Malice: Well, I’ve heard a little bit about Ace the Zombie. Care to tell us a bit about it?
Fox: I would love to. It has been many years since the first zombie outbreaks and the World Health Organization has introduced a “miracle” drug called Zom-Calm. While not exactly a cure, it curbs the undead appetite for living flesh, and zombies now occupy almost twenty percent of the national work force. Allen Christopher Edwards, Ace to his friends, is a great guy but a total pushover. Everyone takes advantage of him from his boss and coworkers to his girlfriend Brenda. He gains new-found confidence when he is bitten and becomes a zombie. But Keeper Ellis, head of the Zombie Control Force has a secret plan to destroy all zombies. Ace must now fight for the lives of all Undead Americans as he matches wits with the evil Keeper Ellis. That is the official synopsis. So a little more about it… Ace the Zombie was my first attempt to write a screenplay. I was asked to assist a couple of guys that had started it but were running into some issues. I stepped in and rewrote it from the ground up. Everyone contributed a little and I think the script turned out really good. This is a zom-com, and there is a good mix of horror and comedy. My humor tends to be a little more on the darker side, but there is a few really good laugh out loud moments.
Malice: What sort of things inspired you while writing “Ace”?
Fox: Honestly, I took most of the ideas from the other writers Rey and Pat. They had a pretty solid story-line, so I just expanded on what I thought they would want. I worked very closely with the director (Giles Sheppard). With it being my first, I really wanted to make sure I got his vision. There were a couple of scenes that I wrote from scratch though. One of which involves a concert at a bar. I don’t want to give anything away, but the scene is intense and switches from a nice calming moment back to death and destruction then back to calm. The scene was complicated and I think the director did a great job shooting it. As for inspiration, I tried to stay away from the normal zombies, so I really didn’t watch anything zombie related, so I guess I used my imagination.
Malice: So I also hear “Z Day” is going to have a shot at the grand celluloid fasion…I know there’s not much you can say, but can you give is a little bit?
Fox: Sadly, I can not give any details as of right now. I am not allowed to give out anything. Other than it will be based on the book and as of right now I am writing the script.
Malice: Whats the main difference between Ace the Zombie and “Z day”?
Fox: Night and Day. Ace is a comedy with some zombies. “Z Day” is all about zombies with a little comedy sprinkled in.
Malice: I have to ask, your claim to fame (Beyond the Llama Shows) is…well Zombie’s! Why Zombie’s?
Fox: I don’t know. I really don’t know. I think it just happened that way because at the time, the publisher was only publishing zombie stuff and in order to get stuff published, I had to write zombie stuff. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some zombies, but as for writing, that was kind of the way I was pushed.
Malice: I know you mentioned last year you had a children’s book in the making (People is you knew the man I do…you’d be afraid!) How’s that going?
Fox: I have actually written two kids stories. One is a nice, cute, non-horror story and the other is a zombie kids story. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, I know, zombies and kids stories don’t sound like they should go together, but the story works and is 100% made for kids. Both stories are being shopped around at the moment. I really hope they can see the light of day this year.
Malice: Back to “Z Day,” if you could fantasy cast roles for it…who would you cast?
Fox: I have done a lot of thinking about this. For a few of the characters, I have an idea:
For the main character – Henry Ian Cusick
Darcy – Zooey Deschanel
Tonya – Laurie Holden
Alisha – Anna Torv
Jeremiah – Kevin Durand
Cole – Ryan Lee (the blond kid from Super 8)
Mego – Queen Latifah (As I was writing it, I kept thinking about her in that role, even though it was written after a great friend of mine Denna!)
Malice – Benicio Del Toro (Editor’s Note: I would have said Ryan Reynolds…but I’ll take that as well!)
Malice: Have you ever thought of writing a Drama/Chick Flick?
Fox: I am actually about ¼ way through writing a drama/chick flick right now. It will be a tear-jerker. Not the kind of movie I would want to watch, but I had a dream one night and I woke up in a cold sweat, knowing I had to tell the story. It spans many years and explores one mans regrets in life.
Malice: Let’s say we are going to star in the next The Hangover movie. You have You and Me….who would be the other 2…and who’s roles would take place of which between Doug, Phil, Alan, and Stu?
Fox: I would like to think of myself as Phil, but then who wouldn’t? (man crush!). I think I would be more like Stu though. You would be Doug. For the other two, I don’t really know. That is a very difficult thing to cast though, because the current cast is so good. (Editor’s Note: Even though I would love to say I would be like Alan or Phil…Doug is probably right. Being Alan would really depend on how much liquor is involved!)
Malice: What is one of the craziest things you have ever done for cash?
Fox: Luckily I have always had a job, so I haven’t really had to pimp myself out (yet). I did run through an apartment complex naked one time for comic value though, does that count? (Editor’s Note: Sure….I’ll give it to ya’….)
Malice: How cool would it be to have a cryptozoological fight night? Which do you think would be better The Yeti vs. Sasquatch or The Jersey Devil vs. Chupacabra…or do you have a suggestion?
Fox: I am really just starting to get into cryptozoology. I am a hardcore skeptic, a show me the proof kind of guy, so it has been difficult for me to wrap my brain around some of these creatures. I would like to see a Yeti vs. Mongolian Death Worm. I think that would be pretty cool.
Well Darlings, that will be all for now! Be sure to keep an eye out for my next interview with Emerging Past‘s Krista Grotte. Also, be sure to keep a weathered eye to the horizon for more from Rob Fox. You may find yourself at one of his movies soon…you never know!
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
This past week I had the privilege to interview a good friend of mine. He is also author of Z-Day is Here, the short story Recess, and soon to be Z-Day is Here: One Year Later, none other than Rob Fox! I can’t tell you what an honor it was, and how glad I am that he took the time to do this interview. I really think you are all in for a treat here. So, as they say in Celebrity Death Match, “Let’s get it on!”
Malice Psychotik: So Rob, you started your first book as a blog back in 07′. Did you ever think it was going to become a book?
Rob Fox: Not only did I have no idea it would one day make it to book format, but it wasn’t even going to make it past 5 days. I did it for a school project and only had to show five days worth of blog. Somewhere around day 3, I was getting emails from people telling me they really liked it and wanted to read more. There were many times I had thought about just stopping – when I would have a really crappy day or when I ran out of ideas, but I felt like I couldn’t let the fans down. I really think when you read the book, there is a definite moment where the story structure and plot really start coming together, and that moment is when I decided to get it published when I finished it.
Malice: What inspired you to start Z-Day?
Fox: Well, other than wanting a good grade, I just honestly didn’t want to write another boring celebrity blog or a “Hi, my name is Rob” type blog. I wanted something different. I believe I had watched a zombie movie the night before or had a zombie dream the night before. Whatever the case may be, I had zombies on the brain.
Malice: One of the things I think makes your work stand out so much is your use of real life people for the basis of your characters. What made you decide to do this?
Fox: I started out doing it because I saw the main character as being me and what would really happen to me on those first days. Then I realized I probably wouldn’t have made it past the first day, so I decided to bring my friends into it. More as my special “Thank You” to them for being a friend. Later on in the book and in other projects, it helps me in giving my characters a real personality.
Malice: Now I know Z-Day 2 has been in the works for some time now. How is it coming along?
Fox: Ahh the dreaded “Z Day 2” question! I started Z Day 2, which will actually be called “Z Day is Here: One Year Later”, shortly after the first book was released. I wrote about 3/4 of the story then was asked to assist in writing a screenplay. I put Z Day 2 on the back burner to work on the screenplay, which took almost 6 months to complete. Once that screenplay was written and turned in, I had an idea for another screenplay that I wanted to get written. I finished that one in about 2 months. While I was doing some re-writes on the second screenplay, I went back and started reading Z Day 2. I was not pleased with where it was going, so I trashed everything I had written and started over. I am currently about 1/4 through rewriting the story, but I am much happier with this one and I believe whoever reads tis one will be happy I started over too. My goal is to have the second book finished by the end of the year. Ultimately I would love to see it out by October, but I think that is a little ambitious.
Malice: Since you’ve started down this road of being a writer, you’ve done a few con appearances. Which one has been your favorite?
Rob: Wow, that’s a hard question. I have had a complete blast at every single con I have attended, but I would have to say that “Spooky Empire” tops my list. I was a member of the forum when all this writing stuff began and I owe my success to everyone on that board, so when I was able to be a guest there, it was like being at home with all my friends. That convention will always have a special place in my heart
Malice: Of all the stories you have written thus far (Short or book) do you have any favorites?
Fox: As much as I LOVE “Z Day is Here”, and I do love that story, I would have to say that my all time favorite story I have written is called “Recess”. It is published in the anthology “Dead Set: A Zombie Anthology”. I wrote the story based off of a painting about a group of kids fighting off a playground full of zombie children. The painting is one of my favorites and being able to bring those pictures to life and using kids that I know in the story really helps make it my favorite.
Malice: Now, you mentioned that you were working on screenplays, have any of them been filmed yet?
Fox: I have two being filmed right now. One is “A.C.E. The Zombie” and the other is “American Undead”. I have a third screenplay that I am trying to sell now..and working on a secret script that I can’t talk about yet…but its gonna be HUGE.
Malice: Wow, I can’t wait you are going to have to tell me when you are allowed details. Now that we have talked about the writing, let’s talk about the man! Who is Rob Fox?
Fox: Hmmm, Rob Fox is a big geek. Anyone who really knows me knows how much I love Sci-fi, horror, and comic books. To me, Superman is hands down the best Super Hero. Also, I am a writer that doesn’t read. I mean I know how to read, I just can’t concentrate enough to read a full novel.
Malice: Well it has become obvious that you like horror movies! What are some of your favorites? Any recent movies tickle your fancy?
Fox: Well, my all time favorite is the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake. I own the movie on Blue-ray and have worn it out. I am also a huge 80’s slasher fan. Freddy, Jason, Mike, and Leatherface were my friends growing up, so I still love them.
Malice: What about the music scene, anybody out there dazzle you? What are you into?
Fox: I love all types of music. On my MP3 player, you will find anything from Slipknot to Kenny Chesney and some Eminem throw in for good measure, though my favorites are Rob Zombie and Linkin Park. I find myself listening to them both while writing.
Malice: Now I have seen your personal pages, (and heard many a story from you as well) you have met a fair share of celebrities. Which one has been your favorite?
Fox: Meeting Rob Zombie was a dream come true for me, but all I could mutter was “You Rock, Rob”, but of all I have met, I would say Betsy Palmer. My wife, Darcy, and I met her outside of the Spooky Empire convention, after the zombie walk. We were covered in face blood and had contacts in. She gave us a big hug and talked with us the entire way to her room. Later, we went to see her at her table. She was extremely nice to us and very much down to Earth
Malice: Anybody who has met you knows you KNOW how to party! Do you have any real epic memories you would like to share?
Fox: I once passed out on a National Monument and got banned from the country I was in…that’s about all I can say about that!
Malice: Would you mind if I asked you some random nonsense?
Fox: Yes, I mind! What kind of a person do you think I am?! But go ahead!
Malice: Here we go! What is your opinion on Furries?
Fox: Opinion as in would I? Have I? Or should I? Yes, Yes, and Yes. I have thought about writing a story about furries…and if you read really carefully you will find a reference to a Furry in Z Day!
Malice: If you were forced with a decision; Eat 3 KFC Double Downs in one sitting OR Punch a midget named “Holis” in the face which would you do? Why?
Fox: Funny story behind that…I went to KFC to get a Double Down. I have been trying to watch my awesome figure, but I decided that I would throw caution to the wind, so I pull into KFC very excited, and realized they were closed!!! I was so pissed that I went and punched a midget hooker named “El Tomeka”. So, I guess I would rather eat KFC Double Downs….since I still have not had one
Malice: Jason Stackhouse or Lafayette Renyolds?
Fox: Wait, to do? Or which one am I more like? I am so confused.
Malice: Do you think we should raise awareness to Midget Biker Gangs that plague the south-east U.S.?
Fox: I think raising awareness to midgets in general is probably a good idea. Now please don’t think that I dislike midgets, because that couldn’t be further from the truth. But I also think that raising awareness to the biker midgets is especially important, I mean what is scarier than a group of midgets on their little mini-bikes riding around your car?? And don’t even get me started on walking into Midget biker bars. I have heard stories about people walking into those bars and limping out, with huge bruises on their shins.
Malice: Would you Describe yourself as a leopard, a wolf, a mongoose, or a llama?
Fox: I would call myself a lleapolfgoose. I am a great mix of them all.
Malice: Well that’s enough crazy!! Rob, I just want to tell you what a pleasure it was doing this interview. Is there anything you would like to add?
Fox: Just like to say that if you have not read it yet, check out “Z Day is Here”, you can get it on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com , and other book stores. Also, thanks for chatting it up with me. It is always a pleasure.
Malice: One last thing, Where’s you number one stop for madness on the web?
Fox: WOW, that’s a tough one. It is a toss-up between http://www.nabainc.org and Encyclopedia Psychotika
Until Next Time, My Freaky Darlings,
OK I figured I would go ahead and hand my first review over to my buddy Rob Fox for his very first Book Z-Day is here.
I remember when Rob first started this blog back in 07′ . It was just soooo good! You would see people dogging him for days for more! I remember being one of those people because he left you hanging everyday with wanting more. Wondering what was going to happen next. Was this guy going to die? What else could go wrong? Is he ever going to find Darcy? So you could imagine how thrilled I was to see he was going to have this in print. I really think the film industry would have a lot to learn from Rob.
So the story stars out in the midst of all the chaos. The zomboclypse has started, and this guy is right in the middle of it. Stuck in his office he starts a blog describing the events as they come to pass. From there it goes on one mans adventure to reunite with his wife. The pace is very smooth, never dwelling in an area for too long, and always throwing the element of real-time into the story. The way the story is written, is what draws you in. He doesn’t take a whole paragraph to describe a small part of a scene. Instead, he only offers the detail necessary to give you a good feel for the action going on. Really that’s all you need. You don’t need four paragraphs describing how disgusting the zombies are and then another chapter describing one fight scene. Just quick to the point what’s going on.
Another part of the book I would love to mention is the characters. Fox did a wonderful thing in basing all of his characters off of people he knows. This shows in his writing as you can really feel the connection with these people. I feel this is lost on a lot of authors. The closer you are you your characters, the better the story will be. Whether its his supporting characters (Like Cole or Tonya) or his smaller characters (Like Dustin or Malice) you feel a real connection to the character. This connection is really important in any sort of zombie story. If you don’t feel for the characters, why do you care when they are torn to shreds by the zombie hordes? Character development is crucial in these types of stories! You don’t have a strong cast, your story fails.
Overall it a beautifully written story, that comes across very real. You really can see yourself right along for the ride. Smelling the stench of the zombies and hearing the moans at the door. I would really like to see this as say a mini-series or something to that effect. Maybe on SyFy or something like that. I would like to say I give Rob Fox’s Z Day is here 5 out of 5 Top Hats. It has nothing to do with the fact I’m in it. Shut up! That’s not bias! Seriously though, if you have never checked it out give it a look. It’s available on Amazon, and well worth it!
Until next time,