Beginning with 2003’s British hit 28 Days Later — and continuing with Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead — the zombie sub-genre of horror experienced a massive resurgence in popularity, after having spent most of the 90s in a state of seeming hibernation. While this wave of theatrical zombie flicks would eventually die off again — with AMC’s The Walking Dead subsequently transferring zombie-mania to the small-screen — one of the last major entries in that cycle was the 2009 horror/comedy Zombieland.
Directed by Ruben Fleischer, Zombieland was set relatively soon after an apocalyptic undead outbreak wiped out most of America. The film starred Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin as a mismatched group of survivors who eventually begin to form their own makeshift family. While Harrelson was far and away the most famous member of the Zombieland cast at the time, actors Eisenberg, Stone, and Breslin have all gone on to raise their stock considerably in Hollywood since.
While talk of a possible Zombieland 2 has floated around online almost since the first film came out, things finally got more concrete last year, when original writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick confirmed that they were hard at work on the script for the sequel. Trying to get the project greenlit was likely made easier by the smash success of Deadpool, which the duo also wrote. It’s been quite a while since there were any real updates, but that’s now changed, as Reese and Wernick recently spoke to ComicBook concerning Zombieland 2’s current status:
“It is [in active development]. We’re trying to get it going. All of our cast have read the script and love it. Ruben [Fleischer] is signed on. It’s just a matter of making our cast deals and making it for a budget number. All the cast have become superstars now so, we made Zombieland with 20 million, so it’s trying to fit that financial model into the sequel model so it makes sense for the studio and being able to pay the actors what they now get paid and deserve to paid.
We see [Sony Pictures chairman] Tom Rothman pretty frequently now and we’re pestering that dude. He’s like, ‘Please, enough with the Zombieland talk!’ We’re pestering him the way we pestered Fox on Deadpool. We’re not letting it go. We really want to see Zombieland 2.”
It remains to be seen what Zombieland 2 will actually be about, but the above statement at the very least confirms that the script is done, and that the cast members are pleased with it. Harrelson has always spoken fondly of his time as zombie killer Tallahassee, so one assumes he’s ready to get on board.
Budget and schedule may be sticking points for Eisenberg and Stone, who were both new faces when Zombieland came out, and are now certified A-listers. Stone, of course, just won an Oscar for Best Actress, while Eisenberg was nominated for Best Actor in 2010, and is now the DCEU’s Lex Luthor. That said, considering what Zombieland did for their respective careers, it seems likely that they’ll be willing to negotiate some type of workable agreement with Sony to return as Columbus and Wichita. It just wouldn’t be the same without them.