Interview: ‘World War Z’ Star Daniella Kertesz & Survivalist Sam Sheridan

By September 17, 2013
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WWZ Humvee

I’m riding in a Humvee up a narrow strip of asphalt into the hollowed-out remnants of the old Los Angeles Zoo. The soldier who’s driving is carrying a M16 machine gun with a rocket launcher, though I am pretty sure it’s made of rubber. At the check in table atop a grassy crest, a young woman asks me if I’m infected, and I stifle a giggle as I reply, “I don’t believe so.” She stoically checks my pupils and then admits me to an enclave where folding chairs curve in a horseshoe around a television. Images of World War Z flicker on the screen as other attendees watch passively, and I wonder if I’m not taking this seriously enough, or if I’m already taking it too seriously.

To commemorate the September 17 release of World War Z, Paramount Home Entertainment invited a small army of reporters to this remote location to offer them an interactive promotion for the film. In addition to watching the menu screen of the new Blu-ray about a dozen times, we got the opportunity to speak with a bona fide survivalist, learn how to fend off an attacker – well, a living one anyway, and interview Daniella Kertesz, who spent a large portion of the film hanging out with Brad Pitt and pretending to have only one hand.

 

After a gentleman who looked alarmingly like Peter Stormare offered an introduction involving a real outbreak, infection, and imminent danger that could only be delivered seriously by an aspiring actor hoping for his big break, Sam Sheridan spoke to the press, describing his own experiences as a survivalist – his book, “The Disaster Diaries,” details them in-depth. He explained how, in most cases, people’s instincts fail when placed in a dangerous and unpredictable set of circumstances, and reiterated that repetitive, militaristic training in even the most basic functions often makes the difference between death and survival.

Afterward, GeekNation sat down for a brief conversation with Sheridan about the film. In addition to talking about the accuracy of the film’s depiction of survival instincts, he highlighted a few things that audiences could actually take away from the film as tips, and finally offered his perspective on the likelihood of a disaster-level event testing our national preparedness.

 

We then spoke with Kertesz, who talked about the balance between real and computer-generated elements she dealt with while on set, and revealed the challenges of acting like she was missing part of her arm for a big part of the film. As the actress’ first big role, she seemed grateful and enthusiastic that she had the chance to participate in what eventually became one of the summer’s biggest films.

 

World War Z is available on Blu-ray and DVD today. Read our review here.

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Todd Gilchrist is a film critic with more than ten years of experience working in Los Angeles. A member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Todd has contributed to a wide variety of print and online outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Variety, The Playlist, MTV Movies, and IGN.
  • John McCullers

    World War Z was the best Zombie movie I have seen ever, the realism was out of this world!

  • Cathey McCown

    Thought-provoking comments . Just to add my thoughts if others want a a form , my boss filled out and faxed a sample document here http://goo.gl/Sv2yVy