Dillon Francis gets bloody, zombified on big screen in new movie


Dillon Francis, best-known as a musician and rapper, is getting his feet wet—and bloody—in the new Halloween thriller “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” through Paramount Pictures.

The flick will open early to offer  the “Ultimate Fan Experience” in select AMC theaters on Oct. 28, including Chicago’s River East AMC at 322 E. Illinois St. Francis has a cameo role as a zombie whose head explodes in a particularly visceral way.

The special release, two days ahead of its Oct. 30 worldwide premiere, includes an exclusive music performance by Francis before the screening that will be featured on the movie’s soundtrack, according to Gabrielle Gaytan, a senior business & entrepreneurship major and intern at Allied Integrated Marketing, a local marketing firm that works with commercial entertainment companies to advertise new films. Gaytan is currently the college ambassador for the film and will promote it to the Columbia community in the weeks leading to its release.

Gaytan said the majority of the film’s stars are not very well-known. The film’s main stars are Sarah Dumont, Tye Sheridan, Logan Miller and Joey Morgan, and Gaytan said Paramount is touting the names of Francis and Patrick Schwarzenegger, who plays a supporting role, to advertise and share the film. 

“[Francis] is a bigger-known person who is going to be in the movie,” Gaytan said.

Gaytan added that she did not recognize any cast members’ names, apart from Schwarzenegger, who is Arnold’s  son, and Francis.

Paramount Pictures hosted an Oct. 14 conference Q&A call about the film with “Dead Dillon” Francis. Gaytan said it was an opportunity to promote the film and introduce Francis’ zombie character to the public.

Francis answered many questions, ranging from his zombie makeup to bonding with the cast and crew on set. Francis said he enjoyed everything about filming the movie.

He also said he was happy that director Christopher Landin wanted him in it.

“It was an honor because I love acting,” Francis said.

Francis said he used to work as a photo assistant when he was a teenager, so working on the set of “Scouts” reminded him of that experience. He said it was easy for him and nice to get back onto a set. 

“I always really like the whole vibe of being on set,” Francis said.

Francis said his most memorable experience on set was getting his head blown off as a zombie.

“It was the coolest thing ever. I think everyone wants their head to explode in some movie, and if they don’t—maybe they suck as a person,” Francis said.

He said the most difficult part of filming was getting his zombie makeup done. He added that it took three hours to complete, and the zombie filming part only took about an hour.

“I was in makeup from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m,” Francis said.

He also said he enjoys performing and being on set more, because he could see the whole process come together and observe the immense communal effort.

Francis said he loved seeing himself on the big screen for the first time and that it was natural for him because he is used to DJing onstage, exactly what he did in the movie. He was happy Paramount let him create his “Dead Dillon” character and said he came up with the storyline, making a music video that fans can watch to start the  “Ultimate Fan Experience.”

The movie premieres Oct. 28 at AMC’s River East at 7 p.m.