Tig Notaro on replacing Chris D'Elia in 'Army of the Dead': 'There should be consequences for bad behavior'

·Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·5-min read

Is Tig Notaro the new Christopher Plummer? That's the world that Twitter wants to live in. Four years ago, Plummer famously reshot Kevin Spacey's role in Ridley Scott's All the Money in the World, after the American Beauty star's very public fall from grace following accusations of sexual misconduct. (Plummer later received an Oscar nomination for his performance, which was one of the veteran actor's last live-action roles before his death last year.) 

Now, Notaro performs a similar service for Zack Snyder's new Netflix zombie heist extravaganza, Army of the Dead, reshooting a role that was originally played by comedian Chris D'Elia, who faces multiple accusations of sexual harassment. (The performer has denied the allegations.) Not long after the news about D'Elia broke, Snyder reached out to Notaro to take over the part of badass helicopter pilot Marianne Peters, who helps a team of mercenaries rob a casino's safe in the middle of a zombie-populated Sin City. 

With the film already wrapped — and pandemic restrictions keeping Snyder from reassembling the entire cast for reshoots — Notaro acted almost entirely on her own against a green screen, and her performance was digitally inserted into the previously shot footage in post-production. When the first Army of the Dead trailer dropped last month, the actress and comic immediately started trending as fans celebrated the switch.

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While she's flattered by the comparison to a Hollywood legend like Plummer, Notaro tells Yahoo Entertainment that she'd rather be cast in a movie the first time around. "It was a joy to do what I did, but I would love to be in the next movie that I do," she jokes. "That's my dream! I'd love to interact with the cast." (Watch our video interview above.)

Beyond the nature of the accusations against D'Elia, Snyder's choice to replace him with Notaro is only appropriate as the 50-year-old comedian has made a point of calling out men in the entertainment industry who have abused their power. In a 2017 interview with the Daily Beast, Notaro addressed her working relationship with Louis C.K. on the since-canceled Amazon series One Mississippi, which featured a storyline seemingly inspired by his off-camera misdeeds. "I think it's important to take care of that, to handle that, because it’s serious to be assaulted," Notaro said at the time. "It's serious to be harassed. It’s serious, it’s serious, it’s serious."

Asked whether losing roles in major movies should be a natural consequence for actors like D'Elia, Notaro pauses before answering. "That's a big question with a long answer," she replies. "But I think there should be consequences for bad behavior." 

Tig Notaro replaced Chris D'Elia in Zack Snyder's 'Army of the Dead' (Photo: Scott Garfield/Netflix)
Tig Notaro replaced Chris D'Elia in Zack Snyder's 'Army of the Dead' (Photo: Scott Garfield/Netflix)

Notaro's feelings are echoed by other members of Army of the Dead's ensemble. "I can't speak specifically on Chris and that situation," says Omari Hardwick, who plays the team's resident philosopher-warrior, Vanderohe. "But I definitely think we live in a society where that which is wrongdoing should be punishable. I was extremely supportive of whatever direction Netflix as a team went. I reached out to Tig immediately upon watching the film and said, 'You did a fantastic job. You're working by yourself and killing it.'" 

For his part, Snyder says that the decision to swap out D'Elia for Notaro was an instinctual one. "It just seemed like the right to do," the director remarks. "We really had a blast shooting with her; she's just hilarious." As for how her performance differs from what D'Elia did on set, Snyder says that she gave the role the Tig Notaro treatment. "It's just Tig! All the circumstances are the same, but Tig's take tonally changes everything. I think that if you didn't know [about Chris], you'd just think that Tig was in the movie." 

The cast of 'Army of the Dead' from left to right: Nora Arnezeder, Samantha Win, Ana de la Reguera, Dave Bautista and Omari Hardwick (Photo: Netflix)
The cast of 'Army of the Dead' from left to right: Nora Arnezeder, Samantha Win, Ana de la Reguera, Dave Bautista and Omari Hardwick (Photo: Netflix)

As the only actor who had the opportunity to share the frame with Notaro, Ana de la Reguera appreciated the chance to see her comic magic firsthand, if only for a day. "I was blown away," says the Mexican actress, who plays ace mechanic Cruz. "I love stand-up comedians, and I'm a big fan of Tig's." And the rest of the female cast members — including Nora Arnezeder and Ella Summer Purnell — are eager for some Notaro hang time as well.

"I think we would have a very compatible girl gang," Purnell says. "I think it would have been fun. Next time!" Maybe that "next time" will come sooner rather than later — Snyder has already revealed that his plans for Army of the Dead's extended universe include a live-action prequel and an animated spin-off. Notaro says she's ready to suit up as the cigar-chomping Marianne again. "As long as I can be in the next movie I do, I'm game." 

Army of the Dead premieres May 14 in theaters, and May 21 on Netflix.

Video produced by Kat Vasquez and edited by Jimmie Rhee

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