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How Army Of The Dead Stars Reacted To The Zombie Tiger Reveal - Exclusive

One of the biggest things fans were buzzing about with the reveal of the final trailer for director Zack Snyder's zombie opus "Army of the Dead" was the reveal of the zombie tiger — a white tiger that became one of the menacing creatures that roams within Las Vegas, after Sin City is walled off from the rest of the world following an accident involving a top-secret government asset leads to a zombie outbreak.

The emergence of the snaggle-toothed beast is one of the many deadly encounters Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) and his intimidating band of mercenaries face in "Army in the Dead," which is playing in select theaters nationwide and streaming exclusively on Netflix. In the film, Ward assembles a crew including fellow war veterans Maria Cruz (Ana de la Reguera) and Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick), expert safecracker Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer), and a lethally skilled guide Lily (Nora Arnezeder) to infiltrate the walls of zombie-infested Las Vegas. It's there they hope to recover $200 million from an abandoned casino vault, but they'll have to outsmart the cognitively advanced zombies — as well as, yes, that zombified tiger — to complete the mission.

Naturally, no tiger was harmed, or even present, during the making of "Army of the Dead," especially since it would have difficult to do a makeup job on the big cat to make it appear like a ferocious feline that suffered through the ravages of a zombie infestation. As such, Snyder had to put his visual effects department to work to create the zombie tiger, which meant his actors had to use their imaginations to react to such an unimaginable sight during filming.

The zombie tiger on the set was a stunt coordinator with a puppet

In an exclusive interview with Looper, Nora Arnezeder said she was blown away witnessing the scene materialize from beginning to end — starting with the performer who acted out the motions of the big bad cat to provide a frame of reference for the visual effects department. "It's impressive. We didn't see the zombie tiger because they added it after," Arnezeder said. "But we actually had a real actor playing the tiger, and he was moving like a tiger, and it was amazing — very impressive."

Even though the cast knew that they were looking at a performance that eventually become the zombie tiger, Ana de la Reguera said she had no idea what Snyder was planning. And while the brief shot of the tiger was wild in the trailer, it's nothing compared to seeing the monstrous animal in the movie in its full glory, she said. "I remember there was a [shot that was going to become the] zombie tiger, but I thought it was just going to be a regular tiger ... Then when we saw it in the completed film, I was like, "What the f—, Zack? You should have told us," de la Reguera recalled for Looper, laughing. "But I think he's having fun with that, surprising everyone."

From puppet to zombie tiger

Omari Hardwick said while it was interesting watching the origin of the zombie tiger scene on set, it was completely exhilarating seeing the completed digital effects shot on screen.

"What we had was a cool stunt coordinator, walking around, holding a puppet of sorts, and acting like he was the zombie tiger. That's all we had," Hardwick revealed to Looper. "We did not have the actual zombie tiger, which was hilarious because Zack wanted us to, of course, be that afraid, as if Siegfried & Roy's tiger is there, but it wasn't. It wasn't an actual tiger. So, we all got the beautiful benefit of being able to watch the film like you, as the cast got to watch the film as well. And then we saw that zombie tiger ... So, there's the magic making with the CGI in that world, and it was incredible they inserted a tiger within a zombie film, man. What's next? A zombie poodle? Zombie birds? What's next, man?"

"Army of the Dead" is playing in select theaters nationwide and streaming exclusively on Netflix.