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Zack Snyder's 'Army of the Dead' based its zombie tiger on one of Carole Baskin's big cats

Jason Guerrasio   

Zack Snyder's 'Army of the Dead' based its zombie tiger on one of Carole Baskin's big cats
  • Deborah Snyder says the VFX team had to study a real tiger for CGI modeling of the zombie tiger.
  • That led them to Baskin's sanctuary, where they spent a week before "Tiger King" aired.
  • "At least they got out of there alive," Snyder joked at an "Army of the Dead" Justice Con panel.

When Zack Snyder's "Army of the Dead" visual effects team were in search of inspiration for the movie's zombie tiger, they found themselves in the big cat sanctuary of none other than "Tiger King" star Carole Baskin.

"Army of the Dead" producer Deborah Snyder revealed the genesis of the undead tiger named Valentine (who was arguably the breakout star of the Netflix zombie-heist thriller's first trailer) during a recent Justice Con panel.

Snyder told the panel that the movie's visual effects team called up different animal sanctuaries hoping to gain real-life references of tigers for the purposes of modeling and animating Valentine using CGI. They ultimately ended up going with a tiger owned by Baskin. However, Snyder pointed out that this all happened before "Tiger King" aired.

"I remember Marcus [Taormina], our visual effects supervisor, spent like a week down there. And we were like, 'Well, at least you got out alive!'" Snyder said with a laugh.

"We didn't even know at the time, and I remember watching it. It wasn't until later and Marcus goes, 'You know where Valentine came from, right?'" she added.

One of the subplots in "Tiger King" examined allegations by Exotic and others that Baskin fed her husband, who had gone missing years before, to her tigers. Baskin has denied this and was never charged with any crime related to his disappearance.

'Army of the Dead' is coming to theaters May 14

Dave Bautista stars in "Army of the Dead" as the leader of a group of mercenaries who plot the heist of a Las Vegas casino during a zombie outbreak.

As we saw in the first trailer, one of the zombies they encounter is the tiger, Valentine. But that might not be the only animal we see as a zombie. Snyder teased in a Q&A following a screening of the first trailer that the only animals that didn't catch the zombie virus are birds.

"Army of the Dead" will be in select theaters on May 14 before its streaming debut on Netflix on May 21. Along with Bautista, the movie also stars Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana De La Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer, Nora Arnezeder, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro, Huma S. Qureshi, and Garret Dillahunt.


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