It’s been nearly a decade since Zombieland shambled onto movie screens, its deft blend of black comedy and zombie horror proving to be a big hit with the public (and arguably helping to launch the mainstreaming of the zombie subgenre along with The Walking Dead), but for years we’ve heard talk and pretty much nothing else about a sequel.
But that has come to an end. Zombieland 2 is crawling out of development hell and in front of cameras at last, with the film pegged to an October 11, 2019 release date. Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin are all returning, along with screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and director Ruben Fleischer, plus some new cast members to be determined.
We caught up with Fleischer just recently at the press junket for his new film, Venom, and he told us why Zombieland 2 has been a slow-moving zombie itself in terms of getting to the screen:
“We’ve gone through many iterations, but the thing that was driving it all was just a great script,” says Fleischer. “I think everyone liked the idea of making a sequel, but they were really discriminating as far as, if we’re gonna do it, it has to be great, and the thing that’s gonna determine that is a great script. So we worked really hard on the script, to get it to a place that we all felt comfortable to go and make it, and luckily Paul and Rhett, who wrote the original and also wrote the Deadpool movies, delivered an incredible draft that got everyone really excited to go make it.”
Aside from the fun work by the four principal members of the cast and the film’s general air of insanity, the original Zombieland is perhaps best remembered for an instant classic sequence in which the quartet of survivors encounter a still-living Bill Murray (playing himself) with tragically lunatic results. Asked if the filmmakers have found a way to top that scene, Fleischer is understandably enigmatic.
“I will say this, we have a sequence, that has this incredible…there’s a scene that I’m really excited about,” teases Fleischer. “It’s impossible to beat the Bill Murray thing, just ’cause I think it’s certainly one of my favorite things in any movie, but there’s a sequence in this film that I think might possibly compete with it.”
We have a year to go before we find out just what that scene is, but in the meantime the good news is that Zombieland 2 is finally on its way. Look out for more from our interview with Fleischer later this week, as Venom arrives on Friday (October 5).
Don Kaye is a Los Angeles-based entertainment journalist and associate editor of Den of Geek. Other current and past outlets include Syfy, United Stations Radio Networks, Fandango, MSN, RollingStone.com and many more. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @donkaye