The writers behind Zombieland, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, like to credit Bill Murray for the film’s success. They feel Murray agreeing to do a cameo in their little zombie comedy is one of the biggest reasons the first film was such a success and got a sequel a decade later.
But Bill Murray wasn’t the duo’s first choice for the cameo. He probably would have been, if they thought they had a chance to get him, but that wasn’t even a consideration. Instead, in the late 2000s when Wernick and Reese were writing Zombieland, the first person they wrote that cameo for was actually Patrick Swayze. Tragically, though, the Dirty Dancing star died around the same time as the film was released. Next, they tried Sylvester Stallone. They wrote it and everything. But Stallone passed.
Third on their list was Star Wars star Mark Hamill. Hamill, of course, also passed—and it would take several more attempts before Wernick, Reese, and the Zombieland team landed on Murray.
That’s the set up for what’s below.
With so many people in self-quarantine, Reese and Wernick have taken to Twitter to post the script pages for some of these cameos. They’re promising to do one a day with three last week: Swayze, Stallone, and Hamill. You can read the first two at those links but, for obvious reasons related to being obsessed with a galaxy far, far, away, we felt the Hamill zombie cameo was worth pulling out here.
(Note: Wernick mentions that in these early versions of the script Tallahassee, played by Woody Harrelson, was Albuquerque. Columbus, the Jesse Eisenberg character, was named Flagstaff. And Little Rock, Abigail Breslin’s character, was Stillwater. Though reading these, you kind of know who is who.)
Reese and Wernick claim they wrote about a dozen cameos for the film and plan to keep posting them daily. So keep an eye on their Twitter accounts at the previous links. On the docket are Kevin Bacon, Dwayne Johnson, Jean Claude Van Damme, Joe Pesci, Matthew McConaughey, and others.
Zombieland, and its sequel Zombieland: Double Tap, are now available.
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