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How Omari Hardwick Became Vanderohe for ‘Army of the Dead’

Omari Hardwick was unsurprisingly stoked when his team handed him internet pages for a new screenplay from Zack Snyder. The progressive director was location up an primary motion-packed heist film known as Army of the Useless that involved zombies having more than Las Vegas, and needed Hardwick for the function of Vanderohe. The only catch was his character didn’t have a line of dialogue in the script.



“I was a little perplexed, but the moment I obtained on the cellphone with Zack, he explained it all to me,” Hardwick tells Men’s Journal. All through that dialogue, he figured out his castmate Dave Bautista was at first intended to enjoy Vanderohe, but was created into the function of Scott Ward, who acts as chief of the motley crew, as an alternative. “But what he did guarantee me was he was heading to be a character I didn’t want to end participating in.”

The re-generate also gave Hardwick an prospect to support formulate the id of a chainsaw-wielding, zombie-killing philosopher. We spoke with the actor about building his character from the floor up, hanging with the cast in New Mexico, and putting on 20 lbs of muscle.

How Omari Hardwick Grew to become Vanderohe for ‘Army of the Dead’

Men’s Journal: The release of this film has been significant, but in a diverse context than most blockbusters. What is the knowledge been like?

Omari Hardwick: The reception has been really humbling. A ton of people today have been reaching out—childhood mates, terrific administrators, producers, even Shaquille O’Neal. I in all probability truly feel how Gerard Butler felt throughout 300 as significantly as manufacturing and operating with Zack [Snyder] goes. Going into the roll out of this film, I have believed about my colleagues like Chadwick [Boseman], Michael B. Jordan, and John David Washington. It’s a funny moment for me because unlike people fellas, my videos are coming out at a unusual time and I’m not equipped to rejoice in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Sure, we do not have a gangbuster rollout, but the film itself is heading to be that gangbuster. I assume it’s type of nice that in some approaches this release will be a little extra personal. This is not an introduction of Omari Hardwick, but it’s definitely a reintroduction. There is a huge component of my fanbase who would like to see me enjoy Ghost for the relaxation of my profession, but I assume these videos have made it crystal clear to them I’m spreading my wings and I have a ton of tips in my bag.

What were being your preliminary feelings on how Zack set this film collectively and the earth he developed?

Sporting activities have been such a foundational location for me, and because of that I often assume of the team higher than the “I’. In regards to Army of the Useless, it seriously is effective because there is such a huge team, such an wonderful ensemble. Zack did such a terrific job of building each human being their personal person character. He gave nuances and attributes that were being special just to them. That was really unique. So from a manufacturing and storyline point of view, heading into this task I understood it was really unique. The way Zack instructed this story is so beautiful. The zombies are type of the backdrop. At the forefront of the film are these broken characters who are not only in search of revenue but in search of them selves. Which is even so for Zeus, the alpha zombie performed by Richard Cetrone. Depart it to Zack to generate such a earth.

Do you keep in mind the place you were being when you initially browse the script?

I was on holiday vacation in South Florida at the time, and it was Mother’s Working day. My agent instructed me he seriously needed me to get a seem at one thing. He instructed me Zack Snyder was at the helm. You know he had me at “Zack Snyder.” [My spouse] Jae instructed me to go for it. She comes from the earth of producers, so she is aware of what it means when another person states a script needs to be browse. But there is not a single trace of my character in the script at all. I mean I’m at webpage seventy five wondering, I guess he comes in a little afterwards.

Since there wasn’t a great deal on the webpage at the time, how did Snyder clarify Vanderohe to you?

Snyder explained Vanderohe was merely another person I’d in no way want to enable go of—that the moment I performed this person, I was heading to want to keep on to him. Does that mean a sequel? I do not know. All I know is he was appropriate.

That chainsaw is pretty epic. What was it like holding it?

I obtained to set a couple months following that dialogue, and I realized the chainsaw was component of the contact sheet. I felt like it was a cast member. I assume it will be implanted permanently into the minds of not just zombie geeks, but all people else. You’re not heading to overlook that chainsaw.

Speaking of contact sheets, what was it like operating with this cast?

Connecting with Bautista, it was like two athletes talking about their life with sports. He shared with me that he didn’t come up with the foundation I had, possessing performed soccer as a child. He explained he came into currently being comfortable with his overall body and working with it effectively afterwards in lifetime. Even even though he was this big determine in the wrestling earth, he didn’t truly feel certainly comfortable until eventually now. I noticed the vulnerability that came with that, and also respected his potential to get open with a person he just achieved. I realized that is why he’s so interesting on display, because of people traits.

It was interesting to go from operating with Theo [Rossi] on American Skin to performing this film appropriate following. Theo and I stored talking about our futures and what it seemed like. It was interesting finding to have that type of dialogue even even though we’ve acknowledged each other for a though. I respected the maturity and class of Garrett Dillahunt. He was that cast member that seriously made me truly feel anchored. He just has that. I do not know precisely what it is, but he just has it.

And of system I beloved finding to know all of the wonderful females. I understood Ana [de la Reguera] earlier from Energy, but it was terrific finding to meet up with Ella, Nora, and Huma, who however I didn’t get any scenes with. But Zack seriously set collectively a crew I liked finding to know, and not sure if we would have been brought collectively in one more circumstance.

Coming from a sports history, did that aspect into how you ready for the function?

I received 20 lbs for the function. I assume I may well have carried out myself a disservice, because now people today are asking if I’m all right because I did it like that. Now I’m back again to my participating in pounds. I like that people today are setting up to know me for making characters from the inside out. But for the initially time, I also centered deeply on that exterior factor for Vanderohe, and made the final decision that this person needs to be a ton larger.

Some of that was so Dave Bautista didn’t truly feel like an odd gentleman out, because he’s such a huge person. I understood I could get my arms major, because they in no way seriously go any place. My arms tend to keep major, but I just required to get everything else major. I communicated with Phil Heath, seven-time Mr. Olympia, about how to set on the dimensions. I instructed him I didn’t want to get any supplements. I wasn’t interested in that system. He just instructed me I had to eat like ridiculous, and that it wasn’t heading to be comfortable. I employed him as a director for that factor of my lifetime, as a great deal as Zack Snyder was directing me in the film. He would give his blessing as extended as I was taking in the volume of food items I required to and finding in the correct caloric intake.

I was taking in so a great deal pink meat to enrich my all-natural creatine. He also had me lower the cardio. Since the temperature was more than a hundred levels in New Mexico, that was heading to support. He instructed me to maintain walking on the treadmill as an alternative of sprinting. I obtained to the place I needed to be in just about 20 days.

Did that education come about on set far too?

Surely. There were being remarkable military fellas and unique operations crew that came with Zack and were being there to make sure we were being performing factors effectively throughout people gun combat scenes, as significantly as entering a space, clearing the space, and exiting. That was great exercising and motion to be learning. Amongst that get the job done I would do pushups with the heavy chainsaw on my back again. Absolutely everyone was assisting me out. Matthias was bringing me food items. Nora was telling me it was time to eat. Ella was performing the identical. But which is what it takes to achieve objectives like that.

Army of the Useless is now obtainable on Netflix. 

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