Posts Tagged ‘Marilyn Eastman’

“We were making industrials and commericals and all that, and of course, our passion was to make a feature film. So ten of us got together, the four of us from our company, Karl Hardman and Marilyn Eastman who are  two of the actors in Night of the Living Dead  (1968)—they played Helen and Harry Cooper—and they had an audio production company in Pittsburgh, and another friend of ours who was a lawyer, and two of the outside people were lighting guys. Basically 10 of us kick in $600 a piece, bought a couple of cases of film. Black and white, 35 mm Plus-X, and some  Tri-X  for the night stuff, and rented that film house [featured in Night of the Living Dead]. And we went around to all the Goodwill stories, and got cans of paint, and we shot for two weeks and then had to break because we had no more money. Took the footage and brought it home, and cut whatever sequences that we complete enough to cut. And showed that to people and a couple of guys said it looks like you might actually be making a movie. And we said, we told you that’s what we were doing. And we were able to raise $5,000 here, $10,000 there. In the end there were 26 people that had $70,000 invested total and that finished the film. And we owed another $44,000 to people we promised would be paid some day. And luckily they did get paid. The film didn’t return a lot of money but it certainly went on and made careers for all of the people that wanted to go in the business.”
—Producer/director/writer George A. Romero
From a 1995 talk he gave in Orlando, Florida

P.S. The script did not indicate that the character Ben would be a black man, but Romero said Duane Jones was simply the best actor he could find. The ending mixed with Martin Luther King Jr. being killed in 1968  turned Night of the Living Dead into a social commentary.

Related links:
The Lingering Horror of ’Night of the Living Dead,’ The Hollywood Reporter (2018)

Scott W. Smith

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