One of the most memorable moments of 2009’s hit horror splatterfest comedy, “Zombieland,” was a surprise cameo by the universally beloved, and in this case, undead, Bill Murray. In retrospect, the scene seems like such a natural gag that fans could easily assume Murray was a shoe-in from the start. However, in a recent interview on AMC’s “Geeking Out,” screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reece revealed that Bill Murray was actually the last in a long line of potential zombified celebrities.
“We originally wrote that part for Patrick Swazye,” admitted Reece. “And Patrick got sick. We offered it to probably twelve other actors. Every time we did, we rewrote the script to make jokes specific to that actor.”
The roster of could-have-beens included Kevin Bacon, Mark Hamill, Sylvester Stallone and even Jean-Claude Van Damme before finally settling on Murray per Harrelson’s suggestion.
“Everyone said no,” recalled Wernick.
At the last minute, star Woody Harrelson suggested trying to nab either Dustin Hoffman, or Bill Murray. Hoffman passed, and because Murray is notoriously difficult to get a hold of — with no agent, manager, or email, claimed Reece — Harrelson had to call him personally.
“Thirty-six hours later, he’s on set,” said Reece. Check out the video below for the full clip.
Later in the same interview, the writers revealed they are finally getting to work on a script for a sequel, and are discussing plans with Harrelson. “Zombieland 2” will most likely get underway once Reece and Wernick finish their other sequel script, “Deadpool 2.”
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