Many filmmakers owe a great deal to Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead director and all-around horror legend George A. Romero, who died Sunday at the age of 77. But, by his own admission, few owe quite as much as Baby Driver filmmaker Edgar Wright, whose 2004 zombie movie, Shaun of the Dead, was hugely inspired by Romero’s tales of the undead. Now, Wright, whose other credits include Hot Fuzz and the U.K. sitcom Spaced, has penned a tribute to Romero which makes clear his debt to the late horror auteur.
“It’s fair to say that without George A. Romero, I would not have the career I have now,” Wright wrote. “A lot of people owe George a huge debt of gratitude for the inspiration. I am just one of many. Without George, at the very least, my career would have started very differently. My future in film really started when I became firm friends with Simon Pegg while we were making Spaced and we realized that we were both obsessed with Dawn Of The Dead and George’s work.”
Wright explained how he and Pegg dreamed up a “wild notion of making a film that took place in George’s universe, but with a distinctly deadpan North London response to his Pittsburgh zombie epics. The resulting film Shaun Of The Dead, would obviously not exist without the master himself and when we completed the movie, we decided that we should try and contact George and screen the film for him. To us, his was the only opinion that mattered. Universal contacted George and screened the movie for him while he was on vacation in Florida… Later that night, George called us in London. I remember standing in my flat in Islington when I got the call from him and he couldn’t have been warmer and kinder about the movie. I remember him saying that it was ‘an absolute blast.’ That indeed became the sole poster quote for the movie in the United States. I frequently think back to this moment of standing in my house as the moment my life truly changed and the world got smaller.”
You can read Wright’s full tribute on his website. Watch the trailer for Wright’s Shaun of the Dead above.