Q & A: Mike Leeder

Who are you?

I’m Mike Leeder (http://www NULL.mikeleeder NULL.com/), based in Hong Kong for the last 20 years. I’m the Far Eastern Editor for Impact magazine (http://www NULL.impactonline NULL.co), and work as a Producer & Casting Director for both local and international projects. Some of the projects I’ve worked on have included Jet Li’s Fearless, Jackie Chan’s Rush Hour 3, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Blood The Last Vampire, Yuen Woo-ping’s True Legend, Ip Man 2, The Bodyguard: A New Beginning and the upcoming Man with the Iron Fist with the RZA.

How did you get involved?

I’ve known Russell (http://www NULL.russellwait NULL.com/Russells_Website/Welcome NULL.html) for a good few years, and we’d been taking about working together on something for a while. I’ve always had an interest in Asian action & horror movies, they were one of the things that drew me here, and one day he told me that he & Gary Gibbons (http://www NULL.worldwormstudios NULL.com/) had come up with this idea for a movie called Zomb’asians. I loved the title, and asked what was the movie about, and he said it was bikini clad zombies chasing people across an island, and I thought what a cool basic idea, and that you could add various elements to the mix. And then at the Hong Kong Filmart this year, we were walking the halls and passing a lot of posters and companies selling movies like Robo-Geisha, Frankenstein Vs Vampire Girl, Tokyo Gore Police etc and various classic HK movies like the Mr. Vampire, Spooky Encounters movies and we thought that Zomb’asians would be a project that could work so well, so we worked out a basic storyline and structure and Russell went off and wrote the script, we bounced some ideas and dialogue, certain scenes back and forth and he did another draft and we felt it was pretty good to go, and initial feedback has been very good.

How did you bring Simon Yin the Director & DOP (Director of Photography) Derrick Fong into the mix?

I’d met Simon (http://www NULL.simonyin NULL.com) & Derrick (http://www NULL.derrickfong NULL.com) a few times, I’d was impressed with the work they were doing with CB Fresh, music videos and other stuff, it was great fun, there was a lot of energy and enthusiasm in their work, and you can see they’ve got a lot of really good ideas and concepts.  I had met them and felt they were both genuinely talented and driven, and that their sensibilities, sense of humour etc would be right for Zomb’asians. They’d just wrapped their first feature Supercapitalist (http://www NULL.supercapitalist NULL.net/), and I had spoken to several members of the cast and crew who had given me very positive feedback regarding the way they worked, I saw some of the footage and I really liked the look of it, I got them and Russell together in a small room and several rounds of mud wrestling later the rest is history.

How would you describe Zomb’asians to potential viewers/investors?

Its American Pie meets Mr. Vampire by way of Shaun of the Dead, to me it’s a film that shouldn’t be over analysed, it’s meant to be fun. We’re not setting out to make the most extreme gore fest of all time, but we intend to make a movie that lives up tot the title and the idea. Sometimes you’ll see a poster for a movie that looks so cool, or a title that catches your attention but the film doesn’t deliver…we intend to deliver exactly what it says on the box…sexy bikini clad Zombie’s chasing our heroes across an island with a ghost busting Taoist priest and his kung fu fighting daughter trying to help them. Now we know we’re not making an art film, so when people start over analysing the idea and the script, it makes me laugh, we’re making the best bikini clad Asian zombie horror comedy that we can make and that’s fine with all of us. It might make us sound pretentious but look at directors like Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson, they began their careers with horror and horror comedy’s like The Evil Dead & Brain Dead/ Dead Alive, those films were great entertainment, they delivered on their promise and still do, and look how far the directors have come since then. If we could get a fraction of that success I think we’d all be very happy.

How do you feel about the coming adventure in bringing the project to the screen?

I’m very excited about the project, yes there’s going to be a lot of hard work and long hours ahead of us, but you know what there’s a hell of a lot of worse things to be doing. Making movies is hard work but I’m not going to lie, it’s a hell of a lot better than working in a department store, or digging fields etc. I like going to work and seeing Ninjas and kung fu, and bikini clad zombies! And it’s great to be able to work with people you not only respect, but who are also your friends, that’s what I’m happy about, I am getting to work on a very cool project with some very good friends.

Whose idea was it to shoot a promo trailer for the film and to chronicle the project from inception through the ups and downs of fund raising, pre-production, shooting etc.

I think I was pushing for it from the beginning, I think sometimes no matter how good a script is, or your pre-production artwork or concepts can be, sometimes people need to see something more to really get their interest. I’d been a big fan of the Batman shorts/trailers Dead End, Worlds Finest & Grayson for instance, and the recent Mortal Kombat: Rebirth promo generated an incredible amount of attention for those projects, and we’ve got to make sure we can deliver on what we promise. And with the team we have, I’m very confident we can do so and a whole lot more. Big thumbs up to Phil Ingram (http://www NULL.philingram NULL.com) who has been getting the website and the internet buzz going.

See the gallery below for shots of Mike and the rest of the crew on location for the trailer shoot:

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