Zombieland: Double Tap’s Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick on minivans, monster truck, and new zombies

Zombieland: Double Tap Blu-ray Box Art thumb

The zombie genre saw no end in sight, but with the release of Zombieland, it took a bite out of the undead pie back in 2009. The horror comedy film became a hit with fans thanks to its cast, catchphrases, and pop culture references. It’s been a long time in the making, but the sequel was finally released 10 years after the original film, and this week, it’ll be available on Blu-ray and DVD (see it on Amazon). Screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have been making a name for themselves since the first film including working on Deadpool and Deadpool 2. The duo returned as screenwriters for Zombieland: Double Tap, and during a Monster Jam week where the pair promoted the home video release, they talked about monster trucks, budget restrictions, new deadly zombies, and why Tallahassee doesn’t like minivans.

Warning: Spoilers ahead

One of the coolest rides featured in Zombieland: Double Tap was the monster truck belonging to Luke Wilson’s Albuquerque. He and his sidekick, Thomas Middleditch’s Flagstaff, made a grand entrance and crushed the Beast, the ride belonging to Tallahassee and the gang.

“We’ve always viewed Zombieland through the lens of wish fulfillment,” Rhett Reese said. “It’s an escapist fantasy at its heart. And part of that means if you were in the post-apocalypse, what would you be driving? And you wouldn’t have to think too long before you thought, ‘You know what, I’m going to go find one of those monster trucks. I have to go to one of those arenas.'”

“Yeah, we look at for the world through the comedy lens, and that’s what we do,” Paul Wernick added. “We like to be funny, and so we came into the genre and we thought, ‘Well what’s our take on the genre? Make it fun and funny and wish fulfillment.'”

If we have a brand, it tends to be coming into a genre and both make fun of it and yet still be it,” Reese said. “So Joe Schmo is an example of reality TV. We came in, we made fun of reality TV, we parodied it, but it was a reality show. Zombieland, you know. Deadpool was superheroes. We just tend to like to do that. We’re doing it with Clue right now. With murder mysteries coming in and poking fun at the existing tropes, the existing themes that the way these movies are told, but also being an example of those movies – good solid zombie movie.”

The production budget for Zombieland was $23.6 million, and Zombieland: Double Tap was $42 million. Both are considered low, and the writers had to think outside of the box to work with the budget given.

“The classic example was Deadpool where we had this big gunfight in act three,” Reese said. “And suddenly we didn’t have enough money for it. So we thought, ‘What if Deadpool forgot his gun? What if he left all of his guns in the apartment?’ And that felt kind of funny because that’s the kind of thing we all do, right? We’re off to the big event, and we forget something. So that was an example of how our lower budget kind of made for a funny, quirky little moment in the movie. He’s like, ‘Oh, crap, I forgot my guns.’ And it worked, so now he’s got to go in without his guns and we got a whole different scene.”

We’re introduced to new types of zombies in the Zombieland sequel. The writers had ideas to show off a new threat to the gang, with one referencing a terminator.

We needed a really threatening zombie, too,” Reese tells Nerd Reactor. “Obviously it doesn’t really seem like the T-800 was that much different from any other zombies when you watch the movie. But at least in our minds, it was like we need that extra threat to make this movie feel even crazier. And that was the idea of a T-800 of the zombies that evolved to hunt – to really kill people more efficiently than your average zombie.”

There’s a running gag where Tallahassee is embarrassed to be caught inside a minivan. A deleted scene will explain why that’s the case.

“It’s got some fun scenes,” Reese said. “We had a joke, a whole sequence, where Tallahassee hates that minivan in the movie. He just doesn’t want to get in the minivan. No one really understands why except that it’s the indignity of a minivan in general. He says, ‘I’ve got a headache. Can you reach into the back? There’s a first aid kit back there with some aspirin. It’s got a little red latch.’ And they’re like, ‘How do you know where the first aid kit is? Did you used to own one of these minivans?’ And he’s like, ‘No.’ And they’re like, ‘You did!’ And it turns out he did own this one minivan. So that’s why he’s so ashamed to get back into it. That’s on the DVD.”

Zombieland: Double Tap will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD on January 21, 2020. It’s now available on Digital HD.

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