The Hollywood Fantasy Draft – "Once Upon A Time in Z-West"

For any of you familiar with Fantasy Baseball/Football, Castor and Red over at Anomalous Material have come up with the Fantasy Hollywood Draft. In the past weeks there have been some awesome picks and some really intriguing casts. That said, it has come time to put the thespians I’ve chosen to work and below you’ll find the details of the script I’ve been concocting. Is is fun and brainless? Is it just terrible hog-wash? Is it Oscar-worthy? Or is this something you’d watch if it was on TV?

Have a look and please let me know…good or bad. Like they always say, “No one sets out to make a bad movie“. If it does have the potential to capsize, a re-write probably wouldn’t help…

TITLE: “Once Upon a Time in Z-West

BASIC IDEA: Time traveling scientists have gone back to the old west to work on weapons for the future and to win WWII. When their secret biological weapon escapes, the local town becomes a zombie nightmare causing the residents and scientists to make a last stand.

PITCH: A time traveling, quasi sci-fi Western with Zombies. Equal parts Open RangeDawn of the DeadThe Thing and The Terminator.

Edward Zwick – Director

Kevin Costner – Clint Matthews (local Sheriff)

Djimon Hounsou – John Henry (Owner of rail working company)

Val Kilmer – James Clifton (train conductor stopping in town helping lay new rail lines)

Mark Strong – Richard Helmsworth (school teacher who previously served in the Army)

Michelle Yeoh – Zao Ziyi (jaded owner of the local opium den)

Mélanie Laurent – Getta Rienhart (unassuming Nazi scientist)

Not Yet Cast – Gregor (Scientist #1)

Not Yet Cast – Anton (Scientist #2)


Back story…

The time is close to the end of WWII but the war is still far from over. Germany is beginning to sustain the first of heavy Allied bombings. 3 Nazi scientists are nearly finished with their 10 year R&D project: ability to generate a worm hole for time travel. These scientists have been assembled by some of the highest (but less insane) minds of the Hitler’s cabinet of advisors. Their project will, if all succeeds as planned, allow those three scientists to travel back to the 19th century and begin work on three new projects that will (if the current events are still unavoidable) swing the war in Germany’s favor. Their 3 agendas have little to do with one another but even if none of them succeed, the knowledge of the future events will give the Third Reich the upper hand for years to come.



The three scientists travel back 75 years and travel to Arizona and start their testing in areas like paranormal research, learning Navajo to understand the Windtalkers code during the war and the research lifesaving medicine (with a secret agenda to develop a super soldier serum). In an abandoned coal mine they set up a lab and start research. A mining blast releases the serum and it causes 2 of 3 scientists to become zombies.



The townsfolk are introduced and the happenings of the town include a rail line going through the old coal mines of the near by box canyon, a Calvary regiment is stopping through town on their way to an outpost fort that is under construction, and many, many laborers have been called to the town to finish the rail line which will connect with a rail line coming from California. People start to be attacked by the Zombies and their numbers grow. One person is brought to a doctor after escaping an attack and the townsfolk are quickly infected by the approaching horde. The surviving scientist makes her way back to the cave (unaware of any of this) only to find the horror of what happened and goes to seek help.



She makes it to town but it is like a living nightmare. She finds the Sheriff trying to rescue people and tries to tell him who she really is and that she’s partly responsible for this. Though he doesn’t believe her he can’t ignore what’s going on and so nearly every capable rail worker is now deputized. Many of the characters above start to reveal some exemplary traits and a rescue of surviving townsfolk is being attempted. Also in a random act of luck it is discovered how to take down the Zombies (who in this story we’re calling Victims). But still with guns of that time, head shots aren’t that easy. Chaos ensues and the townsfolk use everything from tools to TNT to the Army Cavalry’s Howitzer machine gun to take out the Victims. Many are killed (both people and Victims), some townsfolk are able to escape to safety and the film concludes with the sheriff and the town teacher on a suicide mission to lure many Victims to the coal mine. As this is happening, the train conductor and rail company owner attempt to slam the locomotive into the entry of the mine. If it works it will kill those Victims aboard the train as the train is filled with TNT. The blast and resulting shock wave should set off the TNT in the cave collapsing the tunnels in the canyon walls. Story ends and the very few survivors (no main characters) never tell what happened.



Now here’s the rye twist. Years later, (in the beginning of the end credits) we see newspaper headlines reading WWII has begun and WWII follows an unaltered path playing out as fated. New headlines show that  WWII has ended and after H-Bomb testing in the deserts of Nevada (just miles from the events of the Arizona town) there are stories and reports of strange man-like creatures roaming the deserts. Cannibals thought to be the results of Nuclear testing really are the “Victims” who made it out of the mine…but more headlines reading that this has been disregarded as just a hoax. Full End Credits.


So that’s what I’ve got. I’ve written tons more and if anyone is interested in the least, let me know and I’ll share the whole story with you. Thanks for reading and more importantly, thank Castor and Red for their efforts in putting this whole thing together.


  • Heather

    I said it on Castors site, but I like the idea of it. I’m getting all too wrapped up in the zombie genre, but with a lot of films like this being talked about because of zombie love, you have to set yourself apart and I think you did that with the science fiction you added to the story, and with good actors playing those parts (AND killing them off is brilliant) it could be a very good watch.

    I’m digging it!

  • MarcC

    Like I said in the pitch “equal parts The Thing” I really liked that idea of everyone not surviving the ordeal. So thanks for the compliment and glad you liked that aspect:)

    Oh and let me know when you write more on yours, I’d love to find out more of the story!