Back in late August, I had the opportunity to visit the editing bay of Ruben Fleischer, the director of the cult film Zombieland, for the upcoming sequel ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP. At the time of my visit, the sequel to the 2009 hit film was about 95% finished with the editing process. Fleischer shared several nearly finished scenes and provided context with behind the scenes stories.
In the upcoming sequel, our lead cast (played by Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and Emma Stone) reunite once again. “Through comic mayhem that stretches from the White House and through the heartland, these four slayers must face off against the many new kinds of zombies that have evolved since the first movie, as well as some new human survivors. But most of all, they have to face the growing pains of their own snarky, makeshift family.” (Sony Pictures).
“The cast was excited about making a sequel but they wanted to make sure it was as good as the original film.” Fleischer recalled. “Woody [Harrelson] told me the film people ask him about the most is Zombieland!” Even though the main cast and the writers have achieved much success since the first film, Fleischer described that making the sequel felt like a family reunion. “Everyone made sacrifices to make this movie because the first one meant so much to everyone.” The writers Dave Callaham (2014’s Godzilla), Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool) spent four years working on the script to make it a worthy sequel to the original film.
Even though at the time of this article’s release I have not seen the completed film, I can say with confidence that the scenes that I saw were absolutely hilarious! The clips were very funny without the tone of the film feeling silly. Fleischer explains that it was easier this time to find the balance between comedy and horror because he, along with the writers and the cast, worked so hard to figure it out on the first film. “It’s a comedy first and the action, zombie, and horror elements are the icing on the cake. The core of the movie is about the relationship of the characters. When you have such great actors to work with they make the character so real.”
Speaking of characters, ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP introduces a new addition to the iconic ensemble. Zoey Deutch plays Madison, a California “Valley Girl” type whose ridiculous banter steals every scene she is in. Fleischer told us that “Zoey came into the audition with this character fully realized.” I was surprised to learn that a good portion of the scenes we saw her in were improvised as Fleischer loves when actors bring their improve skills to the set. He told us that so many of the great one-liners from the first film were improvised as well.
On a personal note, I loved being able to watch these scene directly from the Edit Bay. I found it fascinating to be able to look at the video editing software’s timeline because it had so many assets and elements. I have been professionally editing video for over 15 years but I have yet to work on a project of this size so it was quite a thrill to see bits and pieces of a highly anticipated film as it’s still in it’s “work in progress” state.
Even out of context, and not 100% finished, the scenes we saw were solid. They were exciting, violent, and most of all hilarious which left me wanting to see more and pumped to see the film in it’s final state. ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP hits theaters everywhere on October 18, 2019!