James Gunn Reveals Why He and Zack Snyder Totally Changed Their Dawn of the Dead Remake

Hollywood loves a good reboot, even more so if the film industry can repurpose a beloved property. When it comes to the world of zombie horror, there are few properties more popular than George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead. That's why when Zack Snyder and James Gunn teamed up on a remake for Universal in the early 2000s, the pair wanted to stay far away from the original idea as possible. In a Twitter thread on Sunday morning, Gunn explained why he and Snyder only carried over one major part of the original flick, so they would be sure not to tarnish the reputation Romero achieved with the 70's hit.

"I loved the original movie (I had the poster on my wall in high school) so I was, like, why redo it?" Gunn tweeted. "So we took the mall & the zombies & that's about it as far as plot goes. I just thought, what's another way this could go?"

The Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker then dove into the outrage surrounding the film during its earliest days in development, outrage which even included receiving hand-written death threats.

"What many younger people don't know is the online community went crazy at the idea the film was being remade. There was a petition with hundreds of thousands of names not to do so. I got actual hand-written death threats," the director added. "It's hard to be the target of the public's ire when you're famous. It's worse when you're barely known, which I was then. I was like, 'Guys, I'm one of you! Love the movie!' but to most I was just 'the Scooby-Doo guy."

Gunn then revealed additional drama behind the scenes of the flick, recalling a story where a well-known director tried to get him fired to take over script-writing duties, "The low point for me was when the director Roger Avary tried to get the job directing & replace me rewriting, didn't & then called up folks at Ain't It cool News & told them how bad the script sucked."


"Ain't It Cool News was extraordinarily power back then - like imagine 80& of all fan sites combined into one. And studios were terrified of the negative assessment of something. And they led the war path," Gunn concluded. "All of this was before Zack was hired! There was still a lot of hate out there for us but that was pretty well squelched when the movie came out to good reviews & a public who loved it."

Dawn of the Dead (2004) is now streaming on Peacock.