WHEN EFFECTS SUPERVISOR turned director Oliver Milburn first envisioned School’s Out Forever as a film, his ambition was to make “Mad Max in the home counties”: a muscular, action-driven post-apocalyptic tale about a bunch of school kids in a world ravaged by an epidemic. Ten years on, he found himself putting the finishing touches to the movie during the Covid-19 enforced lockdown, while fretting about the irony.
“I hope that it’s not seen as piggy-backing,” he tells Red Alert just before Christmas. The film is due for release in February, when it’s clear that the world will still be deep in the battle against the coronavirus. “And I hope that no one is offended by our use of a virus when people have tragically lost family members. But it is a complete coincidence and I have sort of gone through an almost complete cycle with it. Some days I’m like, ‘Oh, this is such a great coincidence’ and other days I think, ‘God, this is Sod’s Law!’”
In fact, when the first UK lockdown went into force in spring last year, Milburn was “still completing some of the visual effects shots – which included the shots of people lying dead on deserted roads, and mass graves and things – at a time when the news was saying ‘We’re worried about hospitals hitting capacity’. So it was very eerie.”
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