Could it be that ZOMBIELAND 2 might actually happen after all? The 2009 comedy was a big hit with both audiences and critics, putting a smart spin on the zombie genre with an excellent ensemble and one of the best-used cameos in recent memory. Sony Pictures was keen on making a sequel, as was some of the cast (most notably Woody Harrelson), but they were never able to come up with a script that everyone was happy with. Last we heard—which was nearly two years ago—director Ruben Fleischer said there were no immediate plans for ZOMBIELAND 2, and Amazon even attempted a Zombieland TV series that was met with a resounding “no thank you.”
But now it appears that there’s life in the follow-up yet, as Sony has hired a new screenwriter to pen a script under the supervision of Fleischer, who intends to return as director. Per Deadline, Sony has hired THE EXPENDABLES and DOOM screenwriter Dave Callaham to pen ZOMBIELAND 2 with Fleischer poised to return as director. The report notes that a deal hasn’t yet been made with Fleischer, but there is urgency on the part of Sony to finally get this thing going. There’s also no word on if the cast will be back, and seeing as how in-demand they have become—Jesse Eisenberg is Lex Luthor in BATMAN V SUPERMAN, Emma Stone joined the SPIDER-MAN universe and is one of the most popular actress around, and Woody Harrelson is a key player in the HUNGER GAMES franchise—I wouldn’t be surprised if ZOMBIELAND 2 featured a mostly new cast.
But there’s always the possibility that Eisenberg, Stone, and Harrelson take a liking to this screenplay, or maybe Abigail Breslin will take over as the lead of the franchise. When we spoke to Fleischer previously, he said the initial take on ZOMBIELAND 2 found the characters in a ‘Walking Dead’-esque premise:
“Needless to say it was a continuation of the original story with the same characters. I guess the only thing I could really say is that the threat to our heroes wasn’t only zombies, like they encounter other people that they’re all jockeying for positions.”
Fleischer has yet to really capitalize on the promise of ZOMBIELAND, as his follow-up 30 MINUTES OR LESS was a funny yet slight comedy and his third film, the ambitious period crime drama GANGSTER SQUAD, was a misfire. Here’s hoping Callaham is able to come up with an exciting and fresh take on ZOMBIELAND 2 that can put Fleischer back on top.