A VIRUS raising the dead and triggering a worldwide apocalypse is to be unleashed in Banbury.

Zombies are expected to start staggering around the town this weekend.

But luckily it’s all just part of a new film being shot by filmmaker Tony Jopia.

And now he is urging residents to step forward and become zombie extras for the day.

He said: “Anybody can be a zombie, so long as they can play it and don’t get shy at the last minute. We want local residents to get involved.”

Mr Jopia and his team, Jopia Productions, are set to start shooting the horror film, called Apocalypse.

The Deddington resident, who moved to Oxfordshire in 1998, said: “The big difference between this and other zombie movies is this new film has been created with zombie fans involved.

“We spoke to a lot of zombie fanatics and celebrities and we had zombie fans writing the screenplay.

“We think we’re doing a film that’s not only a film for fans but by fans.

“We’ll be using cinematic shock techniques where we will be embracing where other films have got it right along with our new ideas.”

The film will see a virus being released in Banbury which raises the dead and triggers a worldwide apocalypse.

Mr Jopia said: “It’s set in Banbury because I wanted a suburb-type feel.

“We’re an Oxfordshire-based company and we’ve been working with local talent for the last four or five years.

“There’s such a lot of talent out there. It’s celebrating with the area. We’re putting Banbury on the map.”

Jopia Productions has worked in Deddington and Chipping Norton before to produce horror comedy films Crying Wolf, available on DVD, and Cute Little Buggers, to be released in August.

Line producer Jeremy Stephens said: “We’re bringing some of the local businesses in on production and spending the money making the film here so it benefits everybody.

“It’s an ideal place to be.

“It’s got all the facilities we need. The people here are great and Banbury Town Council has been more than helpful.”

Filming will begin on Saturday with two open days for residents to play the undead, on August 24 and 31.

The movie is not the area’s first zombie feature – Hollywood star Brad Pitt filmed scenes for World War Z at the former Upper Heyford American airbase in 2011.