GOLD, a series about the trials and tribulations of a group of LA-based pen and paper tabletop gamers, has always been a labor of love. Beginning as a screenplay by actor/creator David Nett (GOLD, The Adventures of Justin and Alden), Andrew Deutsch and Nett teamed up to adapt the script to a web series. Continuing their day jobs, where Deutsch revealed is where they met and began their “nerd war” (Deutsch admits that Nett would win), and casting talented friends, GOLD went on to a nomination for Best Ensemble Cast at the second annual Streamy Awards and the two creators are now expanding the universe the show exists in with Night of the Zombie King.
Based on the popular character Jaz (leader of the Dangerous Gamers from GOLD Season 1, episode 4), who is played by the talented James Lane (The Ballad of Mary and Ernie), Night of the Zombie King takes place chronologically between seasons 1 and 2 of GOLD. Wanting to escape LA, Jaz returns to his childhood hometown of San Jose where his old high school Game Master arranges a night of Goblins & Gold to reunite their gaming group, not having been all together for over fifteen years. Tubefilter had a chance to visit the final day of shooting of the spin-off series, where there was not only an air of celebration on set, but one of tension, as they were shooting the climatic confrontation of the series.
“Night of the Zombie King is basically The Big Chill for nerds,” explained Nett, who wrote the 6 episode series with Deutsch and fellow GOLD cast member Rick Robinson. “(Jaz) is hijacked at the train station when he arrives by his old Dungeon Master for supposedly one night of closure with all of his high school friends. When he gets there they seem happy to see him. But as the night goes on and the tensions in the game rise, the strain between the people they were as kids and the people they have become starts to be felt and some old wounds are opened and need to be patched together before the night is over.”
Unlike GOLD, which was predominately written with specific actors in mind, Nett and his crew were able to reach out a wider net when casting Jaz’s old gaming group. But in doing so, a lot of familiar faces in the web series world ultimately ended up in the roles. “It turned out people that we already did know turned out to the audition like everyone else”, explained Nett. “It’s a small community so ultimately, when people hear about it, it’s out there. But we found some amazing people through the audition process this time, which was cool.”
Among those people are Maxwell Glick (lonelygirl15, The Station) who plays the Game Master’s younger brother Hicks, who Nett revealed on our visit is based on his actual younger brother; Stephanie Thorpe (After Judgement, Hurtling Through Space At An Alarming Rate) as Danny, the “girl playing with the guys” who also has a (perhaps romantic) history with Jaz; Jonathan Nail (Solo: The Series) as Martin, the Game Master; and Brian Majestic as Brian, who as an actor, is the “unknown” in the group. “When he came in to read, we were just blown away,” said Nett. “We was the one person we had never seen, we had no frame of reference for, and he was really good. Plus, his name is Majestic.” And no, it’s NOT a stage name.
The production does not as of yet have a release date for the first episode. “How we ended up shooting this is kind of weird,” explained Nett. “We were shooting pickups of our pilot, Alice and the Monster, about a month ago and we realized that between Rick’s schedule and my schedule and Andrew’s schedule, the only two weekends we were all going to be in town until December were these two weekends. So we quickly pulled the shoot together so we could shoot it. So we are very much a shoot first, figure out what to do with it later. The hope is that we can sell it to some kind of distribution channel.”
While you’ll have to wait a little while before Night of the Zombie King, if you want to dive into the expanding GOLD universe, season 1 of GOLD comes out on DVD Tuesday, May 25th and you can order copies from the show’s official website.