In a Vanity Fair interview published on Friday, the Snyders spoke about the decision to have actor-comedian Tig Notaro take over D’Elia’s helicopter pilot part. They also broke down the challenging process of inserting her into a film that had long ago been shot without any other cast members present.
Director Zack Snyder said that the decision to recast D’Elia’s part was “a fairly easy one,” though his wife, producer Deborah Snyder, acknowledged that it was also “an expensive one.” The millions spent by Netflix went toward the digital erasure of D’Elia from footage, as well as reshoots with Notaro last September, and visual effects work that would seamlessly integrate her into scenes, opposite her co-stars.
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Admittedly, Army of the Dead‘s director was nervous about the process, by which he’d bring Notaro into the film, saying that “It could have been a disaster.” Thankfully, as technically complicated as it was to pull this off, the crew that surrounded him proved more than capable of doing so.
“It just so happens that the group makes giant visual-effects movies, you know what I mean?” he said. “It worked out that we were like, Oh, yeah, I know how to do this.”
“I will say, Netflix did the right thing [in paying for reshoots],” added Deborah Snyder. “They put their money where their mouth is.”
Centered on a group of soldiers who plan a Las Vegas casino heist amid a zombie apocalypse, Army of the Dead also stars Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Garrett Dillahunt, Hiroyuki Sanada, Huma S. Qureshi, Raúl Castillo, Nora Arnezeder, Matthias Schweighöfer, Samantha Win and Rich Cetrone. The film was released in select U.S. theaters on May 14, before hitting Netflix on May 21.
It was in August of last year that Notaro officially joined the cast, as pilot Marianne Peters, after a sexual misconduct scandal centered on D’Elia began to unfold.
In June of 2020, D’Elia was accused of sexually harassing multiple women, some of whom were underage. Then, in March, he was hit with a civil suit, which accused him of child sexual exploitation and violation of child pornography laws.
After the first wave of accusations against D’Elia broke, he was dropped by his representatives at CAA and 3 Arts. While the comic posted a video to his YouTube page in February, in which he admitted that he does “have a problem,” he has long maintained that he has done nothing illegal.