Director Ruben Fleischer made a splash with his debut feature, the satirical genre film, “Zombieland.” The surprise hit of summer 2009, the film grossed $102 million worldwide off a relatively low $23 million dollar budget. Not gangbusters numbers, but enough to jumpstart a career for Fleischer and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick who would go on to score coveted (or high-paying) writing assignments like “Deadpool” and “G.I. Joe 2.”
Sequel talk arrived almost immediately and Sony hired Reese and Wernick to pen “Zombieland 2” shortly thereafter. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the project though and recently “Zombieland” star Jessie Eisenberg cast some of his doubts on the project actually ever happening.
“They’re writing the script right now but I haven’t seen it and I suspect that the longer we wait, the less relevant it will be. I mean, all the actors would love to do it and the director would love to do it but I’m not sure what’s happening,” he said.
The Playlist sat down with director Ruben Fleischer today during the junket for his upcoming film, the action comedy “30 Minutes Or Less,” and the filmmaker also sounded skeptical whether the project would actually come to pass.
“It’s something we’d all like to do, but the reality of it happening depends on finding a script that we’re all excited to get aboard, so until then that happens it’s gonna continue to be in the… ‘not-happening-process,’ ” he said earlier in the day during the press conference.
During our interview with Fleischer, more on that closer to the August 12 release of “30 Minutes or Less,” the director said that part of the delay is because he and the principal cast don’t want to deliver an inferior product and have set their standards extremely high.
“The thing is that we’ve all said is the only reason to do it is if it’s better than the original and i don’t think anyone wants to do it, just to do it,” he told us today. “And certainly no one is going to do it just for the money — it’s not like any of us could get rich off it anyway so I think, without trying to sound arrogant, the bar is super high. And we’ve been holding it to that.”
While it has been suggested in many cast and crew’s various comments over the years, but Fleischer confirmed a script does exist. “[Rhett and Paul] wrote something and it was really great,” he said. “A script exists. We all are excited of the prospect of making the movie, but I guess we all haven’t found the perfect story to tell yet.”
As Eisenberg notes, it’s been two years since “Zombieland” hit screens, so the longer the creative teams wait, the longer the film could remain relevant. As for now, it remains to be seen if the picture will ever happen. Fleischer, in the interim, has focused his attention elsewhere and is already in pre-production for the superbly-cast “Gangster Squad” which is aiming to shoot this September.
“It’s 1949 gangster movie set in Los Angeles about a real life gangster name Mickey Cohen and the cops that worked above the law to bring him down,” he said. “Sean Penn‘s playing Mickey Cohen and Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling are the two lead cops that have to work to take him down. It’s a big step for me because it’s such a different movie tonally, but I feel very lucky to be doing it, it’s coming up quickly.”