15 years later sounds less poetic than 28 Days Later, but alas, here we are. The post-apocalyptic film with wicked fast zombies came out in the USA on June 27, 2003.
The British horror picture surprised everyone with its commercial success. Made on a budget of just $8 million, 28DL recouped its budget 10 times over. The success of the film revived mainstream interest in Zombie horror by transforming traditional lore into something fresh. Alex Garland (The Beach, Annihilation) wrote the screenplay for the film while Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) directed.
Garland’s zombies are living nightmares rather than reanimated corpses. This was a relatively new concept in the world of Zombie horror, one that has gone on to influence many films, novels, and television series. His unique brand of storytelling allowed him to create a terrifying film with unique characters of substance that appealed to viewers of all shapes and sizes.
The film helped launch the careers of its stars, many of whom were previously unknown actors. Let’s take a look at where they landed after the release of 28 Days Later.
The Irish actor got his start in a theater production called Disco Pigs, but his big break came when he landed the lead role of Jim in 28DL. The success of the film resulted in several roles in big budget films like Cold Mountain (2003), The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005-2011), and Inception (2010), just to name a few.
His role as Thomas Shelby on the hit show Peaky Blinders is his most recent triumph. And just think — it all started with him being chased by rage-infected humans thirsting for his blood!
Naomie Harris slew as Selena in 28DL. Her cutthroat demeanor coupled with her “call a spade a spade” attitude is a stark departure from the “Damsel in Distress” characters of earlier horror films. She has gone on to have a fabulous acting career with roles in films like Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Spectre, and Moonlight, the latter for which she received numerous award nominations and accolades.
Most recently, Harris played in the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson film, Rampage. Personally, my favorite role of hers is Calypso in The Pirates of the Caribbean series.
Brendan Gleeson was perhaps the most recognizable actor to star in 28 Days Later. With a string of critically successful performances in the late 90’s, Gleeson’s fame was growing when he appeared in 28 Days Later. Since 2003, Gleeson’s success has exploded with roles like Mad-Eye Moody in the Harry Potter series, the television film Into the Storm, and most recently, Paddington 2.
Despite his continued participation in films and television series, he will forever be immortalized in my memory as Hamish Campbell in Braveheart.
Chris Eccleston holds just as much of a presence on the stages of London as he does on the big screen. In 28DL, his portrayal of Major Henry West showed audiences that humans under pressure can behave worse than diseased, flesh-eating zombies, which is difficult to do.
His body of work both on the big screen and on stage is vast. A few biggies include a role as Malekith the Accursed in Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World, and the ninth doctor in Doctor Who. He currently plays the titular character in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Macbeth.
In what was only her second acting credit, Megan Burns’ portrayal of Hannah in 28DL offered the audience a touch of innocence in an otherwise bleak and terrifying film. She moved on from acting following the success of 28DL, opting instead for a singing career under the stage name Betty Curse. But, for those of you hoping to see Hannah again, Megan Burns recently accepted a role in the upcoming film, In2ruders.
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