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Omari Hardwick Reveals How Zack Snyder Made Army Of The Dead Different From Every Other Movie - Exclusive

On its face, director Zack Snyder's latest movie, "Army of the Dead," is a zombie and heist thriller, but there are many more themes layered within the narrative, according to actor Omari Hardwick. "We're dealing with some very, some real things at this moment in time globally, right? Not just upon the seven continents that we know life to exist on, but also just globally in every little nook and cranny of this great big thing called Earth. There's a lot of stuff happening right now," Hardwick told Looper in an exclusive interview. "And Zack, within this parameter of 2 hours and 30 minutes inserted [many] genres that are found within this show."

In "Army of the Dead," streaming exclusively on Netflix, Hardwick stars as Vanderohe, a war veteran who served with Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) and is recruited by his old friend for a daring heist mission. With only 32 hours to complete the score or face certain death, the operation will require Ward, Vanderohe, their fellow mercenaries to enter the zombie-infested environs of Las Vegas to recover $200 million from a casino vault.

Among the group that enters the walled-off city is Ward's daughter, Kate (Ella Purnell), who became estranged from her father after a devastating tragedy. That sort of strained family dynamic is one example of why there's much more to Snyder's vision for "Army of the Dead" than viewers may realize, Hardwick said. "So, let's say there's drama. Let's say there's action. Let's say there's horror and thrilling moments. Let's say there's a zombie genre, which is its own genre. And let's say even love between Scott Ward and his daughter, which Ella Purnell does a great job playing," Hardwick observed. "There are all of these different genres within one genre. And then within those different genres within the one genre, he inserted all of these different things, broken characters included."

'Army of the Dead' portrays zombies in a different light

Based on a story written by Snyder, "Army of the Dead" elevates the genre, in that zombies have much higher cognitive skills than seen in the movies of yesteryear, in which the undead would merely lumber around. And because these zombies are fast — like in Snyder's 2004 smash hit "Dawn of the Dead" — and now have the ability to organize and even emote, Hardwick is convinced viewers will see them much differently in "Army of the Dead." "There is a fleshing out of all of our characters. You don't know who the Army of the Dead is. Is it the zombies or is it actually us haunting the zombies? Haunting them, hunting them, what have you. We might be the ghosts haunting them, we're bothering their space," Hardwick told Looper. "They've now created a world and even made it — because the genius of Zack — where there's empathy. There's sorrow, too, where you actually feel for the zombies, and that's not something that you've ever seen before."

What Hardwick appreciates is how Snyder finds a way for all the storylines in the film to intersect, which is particularly thrilling to him because his character is a big part of "Army of the Dead." "Vanderohe is definitely the moral compass of the film and [easily] the most tortured, if not Scott. But the two of them are trying to figure out life together in a very parallel way," Hardwick said. "And then Scott obviously recruits me back in, recruiting everybody else, Dieter included. And now you see this 'Ocean's 11' team meets these zombie fighters and that's pretty cool." 

"Army of the Dead" is streaming exclusively on Netflix.