Zombieland Spin-Off In The Works?

By Nathan Kamal | 3 months ago

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Uncharted director Ruben Fleischer recently hinted that he has continuing hopes for a Zombieland spin-off. The 2009 horror comedy film kicked off his career as a feature director in Hollywood, and made Jesse Eisenberg a commercially viable film star. It was followed by a sequel in 2019, Zombieland: Double Tap, which was well received and a box office success. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Fleischer described his hopes for a spinoff centered on Zoey Deutch’s character from the sequel. However, given that he has recently been busy filming the video game adaptation Uncharted starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, it does not sound like he has had too much time to get to work on it. On the other hand, apparently Fleischer has had time to get some momentum going on Jak & Daxter film adaptation, to the delight of Tom Holland’s weird ideas, so maybe it could happen. 

Whether a Zombieland spin-off happens is up in the air, but as a franchise, it is no stranger to extended production periods. Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick originally came up with the idea as a spec script for a television project, and worked on it for years before it became a feature film. It also had to snag Bill Murray at the last minute for his well regarded cameo as one of the last surviving humans in a Los Angeles overrun by zombies, after the previously cast celebrity dropped out at the last minute. Apparently his old Kingpin co-star Woody Harrelson was able to call in a favor, which was good news for anyone who ever wanted to see Murray diss Garfield. After the success of the first film, Reese and Wernick attempted a TV adaptation for CBS without the original stars, which never came to be. In 2013, the pair teamed up with Amazon Prime to produce a Zombieland pilot that was actually filmed and released, but not picked up for a season. Perhaps the sheer level of fan vitriol had something to do with that, or maybe people were just against the idea of a Zombieland without the chance that Jesse Eisenberg might get eaten by ghouls. 

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In more recent years, Ruben Fleischer directed both the Zombieland sequel and the Sony Pictures hit Venom, starring Tom Hardy as the titular Spider-Man adversary. He has since moved on to actually working with Spider-Man, with the Uncharted film starring Tom Holland as adventurer Nathan Drake being released after months of Covid-19 delays and overlap in production with Spider-Man: No Way Home. It does unfortunately sound like the idea of a Zombieland spin-off might be a bit of a pipe dream at this point. But considering how long it actually took to get the original one made, it still could happen. In the same interview, Fleischer also discussed how much he loved working with the original cast and it wasn’t until  Venom in 2018 that he made a film that did not involve at least one of those actors. So there’s always hope!