EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Entertainment and Sony-owned Crackle have set Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives, Dallas), Meghan Ory (Once Upon a Time), Virginia Madsen (Sideways), and Dennis Haysbert (Men, Women & Children) to star in zombie chopper Dead Rising: Watchtower, the first project out of Legendary’s Digital Media division.

meghan oryjessemetcalfeLeprechaun: Origins helmer and VFX veteran Zach Lipovsky is directing Dead Rising from a script by Tim Carter, based on the bestselling Capcom franchise that’s spawned two sequels and sold 7.6 million copies worldwide to date. As in the vidgame, Dead Rising: Watchtower is set during a zombie apocalypse. When a mandatory government vaccine fails, a group of survivors must evade infection while hunting down the root of the epidemic, which leads back to a government conspiracy.

Filming is set to begin tomorrow in Vancouver with Carter and Tomas Harlan producing for their Contradiction Films banner. Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura is aboard as executive producer. Contradiction Films’ prior digital releases include Mortal Kombat: Legacy, another live-action action video game adaptation that scored big with online audiences. That web series went viral when it debuted online on Machinima.com’s YouTube channel, paving the way for similar video game spin-offs to take advantage of the gamer-centric digital space.

dennis haysbertvirginia madsenDead Rising is set to debut as a 90-minute feature in the U.S. on Sony’s digital platform Crackle, followed by SVOD, DVD, VOD, and TV. Content Media, which released the popular Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn film and Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist series digitally, has international rights to Dead Rising and will release it in both feature-length and episodic form.

Metcalfe is repped by The Gersh Agency, Untitled Entertainment and Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein. Ory is repped by The Gersh Agency and Pacific Artists Management. Madsen is repped by UTA and Untitled Entertainment. Haysbert is repped by The Gersh Agency and GS Management.