'Zombieland' Sequel a Go With Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin (Exclusive)
It may have taken almost 10 years, but Zombieland is ready to open its doors again.
After fits and starts, Sony Pictures has reunited the cast of its 2009 surprise hit — including Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin — for Zombieland 2.
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Ruben Fleischer, who helmed the original and is behind the studio’s Spider-Man-centric fall tentpole, Venom, is returning to the director’s chair.
Original Zombieland writers Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, who have, in the intervening years, found success as the writers of the irreverent and successful Deadpool franchise, are also back, having penned the script for the sequel. Additionally, Gavin Polone is returning as producer.
While rumors of the sequel have risen from the dead several times over the years, this time Sony really means it. The film is set to begin production in January and will be released in October 2019, in time for the tenth anniversary of the original movie.
Zombieland is a horror-comedy road movie that follows four strangers that meet and eventually bond amid a post-apocalyptic zombie outbreak. Eisenberg plays a geeky survivor named Columbus, Harrelson is the violent Tallahassee and Stone and Breslin are sneaky sisters Wichita and Little Rock, respectively. (In the movie, the monikers are a means to prevent others from getting too close to someone who could die anytime, while the town itself means something personal to the character who chooses his or her name.)
The original pic grossed only $75 million domestically and racked up a worldwide gross of $102.3 million. Not only did it win over critics, but it also became a cult hit in its post-theatrical life and gained a strong following while also acting as a major launching pad for all involved.
It helped that the budget for the film was just under $24 million.
While Sony wouldn’t comment on the budget for the sequel, it certainly will be more. In the years since, all the actors became Academy Award nominees, with Stone winning for her performance in 2016’s La La Land. (Breslin scored her supporting actress nomination for 2006's Little Miss Sunshine.)
“This is one of those projects that fans have wanted to see happen for a long time — and no one wanted to see it happen more than Emma, Woody, Jesse and Abigail,” said Columbia Pictures president Sanford Panitch in a statement. “These are some of the most in-demand actors, and I think they are making this movie because they love these characters. We are thrilled Ruben was willing to come back to direct the sequel, as his work on Venom has been truly amazing.”
The new movie will once again put the focus on comic mayhem, taking the quartet from the White House to the American heartland as they face off against new kinds of zombies that have evolved since the first Zombieland, as well as some new human survivors. But, most of all, according to the studio, they have to face the growing pains of their snarky, makeshift family.
Lauren Abrahams is overseeing the project for the studio.
Stone, who is repped by WME and Anonymous Content, will be seen this fall in Netflix’s Cary Fukunaga series Maniac with Jonah Hill. In November, she also stars in The Favourite, from director Yorgos Lanthimos.
Harrelson, who starred in Solo: A Star Wars Story, appears in Fleischer’s Venom and is gearing up to shoot Roland Emmerich’s naval war movie Midway. He is repped by CAA, Tracy Harshman and Ziffren Brittenham.
Eisenberg’s recent credits include Now You See Me 2 and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He is repped by CAA and Felker Suddleson.
Breslin, repped by CAA and Felker Suddleson, recently starred in Trudie Styler’s comedic drama Freak Show.
Fleischer is repped by CAA and Management 360. Wernick and Reese are repped by WME.
by Graeme McMillan
by Patrick Shanley