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How SEAL Training Helped Army Of The Dead Star Ana De La Reguera Get In Character - Exclusive

"Army of the Dead" stars Dave Bautista as Scott Ward, a veteran of a zombie war that broke out after a government accident unleashed a zombie epidemic on Las Vegas. Years later, with Sin City walled off from the rest of country to contain the zombie outbreak, the financially struggling Ward is approached with an alluring proposal that will leave him set for the rest of his life. The offer comes from billionaire casino owner Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada), who wants Ward to assemble a heist team — including Ana de la Reguera, who plays highly-skilled zombie war veteran Maria Cruz — and expert safecracker Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer) to infiltrate the barriers of the city and recover $200 million from his casino's vault beneath the Las Vegas Strip.

But since the zombies inhabiting the former gambling mecca are fast and organized, Ward, Cruz and the rest of the team need to use heavy-duty weaponry, which meant Bautista, de la Reguera and their fellow members of the "Army of the Dead" cast had to train with such weapons. The intense preparation for the film — which is now streaming on Netflix — included the many of the cast members undergoing weapons training with Navy SEALs. However, as de la Reguera revealed in an exclusive interview with Looper, weapons training involved much more than pulling a trigger.

"We had to know how to use a weapon. Because for example, Matthias doesn't use big weapons, but he had to know how to work as a team, and we all had to do it," de la Reguera said. "And that's hard, too, because there's a lot of rules that you cannot go with a gun like this [motions back and forth] when someone is passing, you have to go down and up. You have to do all these protocols that you have to learn. Yeah, it is very interesting."

But that's not the only lesson she learned.

Weapons training included an emphasis on working as a team

There is a lot that goes into a story as epic in scale as the zombie heist thriller "Army of the Dead," so director Zack Snyder wanted to make sure the actors who played the hardened mercenaries were well-prepared to take on the task. Ana de la Reguera, who hails from Veracruz, Mexico, admitted that she wasn't crazy about handling real, heavy-duty weaponry.

"It was really weird, because also, there were a lot of foreign people in the movie, and Americans are very, very passionate about their guns," de la Reguera said. "I remember in the camp, I felt a little uncomfortable because I was like, 'You guys' — and they were super tough guys — and I was like, 'Why can't we just use fake guns? Why do we need to learn to use a real gun? Why are we going to this camp?' I was actually uncomfortable, and I wasn't happy about it, until I don't know which actor told me, 'Well, these experiences will help you [somehow]. You'll learn something new.' And I said, 'Okay.'"

Once she embraced the fact that training with real guns was an important part of the protocol, de la Reguera said she was "super grateful" that she did. "It's not until you are with a real weapon, such a big weapon, that you have the respect for it, and you don't hold it the same way. Even if it's going to be a fake one, you know the amount of responsibility that you have carrying a weapon. I think that was very useful. It helped me a lot with the character."

"Army of the Dead" is streaming on Netflix.