Actor Derek Johns Talks About His Starring Role In “We Are Zombies” Which Screened At The 2023 Fantasia Film Festival

Kat Harlton

Photo provided via PR team

Actor Derek Johns (widely known as Love Sausage on Prime Video’s The Boys) stars in the highly anticipated feature film We Are Zombies based on Jerry Frissen and Guy Davis’ cult comic book series The Zombies That Ate the World. The film, which is directed by the up-and-coming Canadian filmmaking trio behind the Sundance movies Turbo Kid and Summer of 84, made its world premiere at the 2023 Fantasia Film Festival on August 9th.

We Are Zombies is set in a city breeding non-cannibal zombies who are considered “living-impaired.” The offbeat comedic plot follows three slackers looking to earn some easy money who must fight an evil mega-corporation to save their kidnapped grand-mother.

Derek plays Freddy, who is a tough amateur wrestler but has a heart of gold, a great listener, and a big softy. Freddy is secretly in love with his best friend’s sister, Maggie and has a hard time accepting the return of the living-impaired. However, through the eyes of his best friend Karl, and the newest living-impaired addition to their team, Freddy will learn to put his preconceived ideas aside and see the world with a more open mind.

Derek can also be seen in the new feature The Sacrifice Game following two students who stay behind at an elite boarding school during Christmas break. When a group of cult killers arrive, intent on summoning a demon, the girls must fight to survive the night. The film also made its premiere at the 2023 Fantasia Film Festival on July 28th.

I had the opportunity to chat with Derek about his role, what he’s learned along the way and what’s next.

Kat: You portray Freddy, a tough amateur wrestler with a heart of gold in the highly anticipated feature film We Are Zombies, set to make its world premiere at the 2023 Fantasia Film Festival on August 9th. How did you prepare for the role? Did you find any similarities between yourself and your character Freddy? 

Derek: I’d like to say I think the biggest similarity between Freddy and I is how loyal he is to his friends, and other noble qualities, but in reality, the strongest similarities between Freddy and I are probably our propensity to be a total clown, and we’re both always thinking about food. 

Kat: Was there anything about your role that was particularly challenging? 

Derek: Well, I’d say that the most obvious thing that comes to mind is learning Freddy’s sweet wrestling moves. As someone who didn’t grow up watching wrestling, I had to learn everything from scratch, which meant a lot of hours watching old wrestling videos on youtube, to understand a little more about the “showman” aspect that is involved in wrestling. On top of that I had to learn the actual moves in order to be able to pull them off safely as well as look convincing, which is essentially what the real wrestlers are doing too! 

Kat: What were some of your favorite scenes to shoot and why? 

Derek: Any scene that featured a new zombie character, every zombie was different, they’d have a slightly different skin colour, depending on how far along they were in their transformation into becoming “Living-Impaired”. They’d be missing a jaw, or have some other limb that had fallen off. The make-up and special effects folks behind the scenes did a brilliant job. The film has a pretty wild ending, which involved lots of stunts, lots of fake blood, and lots of zombies, those scenes were unlike anything I’ve ever done before. 

Kat: Is there a type of character that you’d like to portray, that you haven’t had the chance to yet? 

Derek: Hmm, maybe something that would require me to be in really good shape, so that I can get motivated to get totally shredded, kind of like a Kumail Nanjiani. Either that or play a real scumbag. I tend to get cast as the nice guy a lot. But playing a dirtbag can be so much fun. 

Kat: What can we expect from you for the rest of 2023? 

Derek: So far, you can expect a couple appearances on shows you’ve definitely heard of on platforms you know and love. Other than that, like any other actor, I’m hoping that both the writers strike, as well as the SAG strike is resolved in a timely fashion, and I totally support both the writers strike as well as my friends in the SAG/AFTRA strike. 

Oh, I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from streaming on twitch, but you can probably catch me on there crackin’ jokes and playing video games. @DerkaJohnsTV on Twitch.

Like this post? Leave your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.