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A decade after the premiere of the first Zombieland, the zombie slayers are back in all their glory.
Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin reunited for the premiere of the long-awaited zombie comedy sequel. Behind them, Hollywood tour buses decked out in Zombieland: Double Tap promotional signs lined the beige carpet, and a giant, red monster truck sporting the words “Big Fat Death” loomed in the background.
“I mean, you have to really learn how to delay gratification in Hollywood,” writer Rhett Reese told THR of the film’s 10-year delay. Though Reese and his writing partner, Paul Wernick, knew they wanted to write a sequel immediately after the first, it took time to find the right story amid other projects.
In the meantime, much changed outside of Zombieland. The cast is 10 years older and has countless other projects — and even some awards nominations and wins — under their belts.
“On the first movie, you know, no one knew who Emma Stone was or Jesse Eisenberg,” said director Ruben Fleischer. “We’d go out to bars and just be completely anonymous. A lot has changed in that time when you’re dealing with Oscar winners and Oscar nominees.”
The first Zombieland, which premiered in 2009, joined a swell in the popularity of the zombie genre as The Walking Dead premiered one year later and countless other zombie shows and films flooded into Hollywood.
“I think we’ve always felt like zombies are more of a genre than they are a fad. There had been zombie movies going back pretty far when ours came out, so we certainly didn’t originate the trend by any stretch,” Reese said. “I don’t think it’ll ever entirely go away. It may ebb and flow, but I think it’s here to stay.”
Reese and Wernick agreed that they’d love to keep revisiting the world as long as they can think of more stories to tell. Their cast was on board. “I was with Woody in New York two weeks ago for Saturday Night Live, and he was like, ‘I wanna do 10 of these movies!'” Wernick said.
Emma Stone is in for 10 more, too. When asked if she’d want to go back to Zombieland, the actress nodded quickly. “Yeah, they’re the best,” she said. “I love the story of Zombieland and the feeling of family, but I think because we’re all close in that [same] way, it feels like the easiest job in the world.”
Eisenberg said he took some time to come around to the idea of more films in Zombieland, but not because of zombie fatigue. “When I was doing the first one, I was so panicked all the time that I wasn’t doing good in it,” he said. “So, I was hoping that no one would see it.” Eisenberg said he never watches his own movies, but co-star Harrelson dragged him to a screening of Zombieland. “Woody said, ‘You just have to see this with an audience. It’s the most unbelievable reaction to anything I’ve done.’ And he was right.”
Inside the theater, the film was met with fits of laughter from the audience as they snacked on complimentary popcorn and Twinkies.
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