Lin Oeding‘s violent corporate zombie comedy Office Uprising had its UK première at this year’s Grimmfest on October 5th. Written by Ian Shorr and Peter Gamble Robinson, this satirical take on the zombie film genre centres on a weapons factory and their attempt to test a new energy drink on their unwitting staff to boost efficiency. Office errands soon turn into a violent fight for survival when the drink’s side effects turn people into hyper-aggressive zombies.
We caught up with Lin to find out more about Office Uprising.
Naomi: With a story about office workers being turned into zombies by an energy drink, Office Uprising seems to have a decidedly satirical disposition. What was it that attracted you to the script?
Lin: I am a fan of Zombieland and other movies in this genre. I’m also a big fan of the work of Edgar Wright, and it’s a genre that you don’t see very often, so when I read the script, I laughed quite a bit and was also intrigued by the challenge of trying something different, genre-wise and tonally.
Naomi: You’ve had a very extensive career as stuntman and stunt coordinator. How did you get into directing?
Lin: While I was doing stunts, I was making short films on the side in my spare time, and it was my third short film starring Joel Edgerton, Lifted, that got me my break in both television and features.
Naomi: How do you think your experience in stunts contributed to your directing style?
Lin: At the end of the day, we’re sort of the sum of our experience, ya know? I had the fortune of learning from many of the best directors in the business during my years as a stunt performer, and stunt coordinator as well. I also built relationships with great crew and mentors, which were invaluable as I moved forward in my career.
Naomi: A progression from directing shorts and TV series episodes, this year’s Braven was your first feature length film. What was the most important lesson your learned making your first feature film that you brought with you to Office Uprising?
Lin: Since I’ve worked on movies for many years, there weren’t a lot of big mistakes I made on Braven that I changed going into Office Uprising. They’re very different movies, and each was a memorable experience in different ways. As you get further in your career as a filmmaker, you oftentimes have the ability to have more creative control, which I feel is beneficial. A lot of times, in the indie space, there are people who don’t know what they’re talking about or have no experience who weigh in on creative things (script, scenes, editorial, etc.) where they should focus on whatever it is they do for their day job.
Naomi: The film is set primarily in office and factory environments. What was your approach in combining a corporate setting full of office workers with fast-paced action and violence?
Lin: It was all in the script. I just tried to bring as much fun and exciting or dynamic action and humour to the movie given how little time and resources we had. I prepped the entire movie in 2.5 weeks and shot the whole thing in 20 days.
Naomi: The film features a lot of chaotic fights scenes and practical effects. Were there any sequences that were particularly challenging to shoot?
Lin: The most challenging thing isn’t shooting them, it’s creating, choreographing, and executing them to the level that myself and the stunt coordinator (Walter Garcia) wanted to, given our short time duration of only 20 days. To those that know how production works, to come up with, choreograph, design, shoot and make that entire movie in 20 days is a huge logistic feat in and of itself that no one will ever see, or be able to give credit for. Had we had more time and money, we would have gone even bigger and better.
Naomi: Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?
Lin: I’m working on a few things on the feature side that I’m developing, and on the TV side I’m currently directing Magnum PI for CBS, and just finished The Blacklist for NBC.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Lin Oeding for taking the time to talk to us! You can keep up to date with him on Twitter, Instagram and his website. Check out the trailer for Office Uprising below.