“Juan of the Dead” is a zombie comedy, a phrase that has become popular in the last few years because those are two genres that perfectly fit together thanks to a point they have in common: subtext.
I have been a follower of the zombie movies since I was a little kid ( zombie movies have followers, not fans). The second film I owned in my life was San Raimi’s “Evil Dead”, since then I haven’t been able to stop going after anything that has living dead on it. It was just a matter of time until I found an idea that seemed good enough to make me try my hand on this genre and put my little grain of sand.
The idea of “Juan” simple came from watching the reality around me. That reality is Cuba, so one day inevitably, I was asking myself if we were so different from film zombies. Besides that, Cuba is a country that has been preparing itself for a confrontation with the United States during the last 50 years. So, what if instead of that, have to confront zombies ?
Cubans have basically three ways of dealing with problems: they try to make a bussiness out of it, they get used to and keep going with their lives; or the throw themselves to the sea to run away from the island.
“Juan” gave me the opportunity to make things really difficult for cubans filling the country with zombies, which is in a way what we have become after all these years, but also gave me a leading character that could take a different option, that could stand and say “I’m not going to allow this, this is my country, I love it and will stay to defend it”… after trying to make a bussiness out of it and keep going with his life, off course.
The idea with “Juan” is making a completely irreverent comedy, with very Cuban characters, filled with action and adventure. A film that can scare you or have you at the edge of your seat, while we also see how we really are. Fill it with spectacular set pieces, but also not unfamiliar to real location (hundreds of people throwing themselves to the sea on rafts,floating cars,buses entering embassies by force are things that I’ve seen personally), and along with all that our day by day complains, doubts, reflexions…..
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that “Juan” allow me to do the zombie movie I`ve always wanted to see since I was a kid, and that makes it more heart-felt than anything I’ve ever made before.