Life After Beth has been part of director Jeff Baena’s creative world for well over a decade. He penned the script back in 2003, and with a bit of luck and determination, the film is finally a reality with what the filmmaker describes as his “dream cast.”
The ensemble includes Aubrey Plaza playing Beth, a young lady who’s killed by a zombie during a hike, leaving her family (Molly Shannon, John C. Reilly) and neurotic boyfriend (Dane DeHaan) distraught beyond belief. When Beth comes back into their world as a card carrying member of the undead, they surprisingly welcome her with open arms.
Plaza was the first actor on board Life After Beth, and DeHaan’s casting literally originated from a friendly card game.
“I met Dane at my house playing poker one night,” said Baena, who co-wrote the screenplay for I Heart Huckabees. “I’d knew, in addition to his unbelievable dramatic work, that he’s kind of a silly guy and has a really good sense of humor, and he hasn’t really had an opportunity to show that. Even though he’s the straight man in the movie, he has such a sensitivity to that humor and is such an amazing actor, his reactions are real and they’re also funny at the same time.”
Baena and cinematographer Jay Hunter shot Life After Beth with Arri Alexa cameras, but to give the movie a more dreamlike feel, Kodak gray cards and film elements were also mixed in. I’m not a tech or photography guy, so to fully understand the process, listen to Baena’s explanation below:
Now available on DirecTV, Life After Beth opens in New York and Los Angeles on August 15.