Zombieland was supposed to be a TV show on CBS. But when the network ditched the series — the fools! — Zombieland was made into a movie. Leaving tons of material for sequels. Which the writers revealed to us.
We spoke with Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick all about the long journey this zombie epic made from television to film. We learned what changed, and how many more zombie movies these two guys have in their brains.
How much did the film change over the years?
Rhett Reese: It's surprisingly similar, interestingly. It underwent multiple devolopment experiences. We wrote it as a TV pilot and sold it to CBS, and they had a lot of notes, which we addressed. And then when they decided to not make the pilot we unaddressed a lot of them. We went back to what we had, because we liked it more. In most cases. In a few cases we kept what they added because they did have some good notes.
Paul Wernick: Interestingly the last bit of the movie is essentially episode two of the TV show.
Rhett Reese: When we decided to expand into a feature we took what we thought supposed to be episode two and we plugged it in. And the big change that we made when it became a movie was that Ruben [Fleischer] our director wanted to set the third act at an amusement park. Originally it was set as a big huge fight at a gas station. But it's awfully similar strangely.
Paul Wernick: Strangely and wonderfully.
Is there a Zombieland 2 in the works?
Rhett Reese: We don't know it all depends on how the first one does. So grab your friends, and make them cast their vote for Zombieland 2 by buying a ticket to Zombieland 1.
Paul Wernick: We've got some really fun ideas. And interestingly the last day of the movie, Woody told us that, "I generally never go back to a world, I don't love sequels, but this is one I would be honored to do." So pending the movie doing well and everyone being excited and loving it. As we hope they will, we'd love to do it.
Rhett Reese: And we'll take what we intended to be episode three of the television show and start movie number two.
Paul Wernick: We got a 23 episode season in our head. So divided by two that's about 12 movies in our head swimming around.
So that's Woody and Jessie Eisenberg tld us he was interested as well, let's make it happen! I wouldn't mind Zombieland 1, 2, and 3 at least.