It is part of the public record (as much as a film review can be such a thing) that I was not a fan of “Zombieland: Double Tap.” As much as I enjoyed the original film back in 2009, the sequel just didn’t do it for it, for a number of reasons. That being said, there are still quite a few fans out there of the action-comedy, and one of the franchise’s co-writers, Paul Wernick, has recently gone on social media to share some never-before-seen information about the original “Zombieland” that would have forever altered one of the film’s best bits.
As stated in his tweet, Wernick decided to share some script pages from an early draft of 2009’s “Zombieland” because “we’re currently living in #zombieland” due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. And though there aren’t any undead roaming the streets craving flesh and brains, there are definitely idiots out there trying to act like nothing’s wrong, so we’ll concede it’s similar.
But the big news about “Zombieland” is how Bill Murray wasn’t originally the actor that was supposed to be used in the second act of the zombie film. In fact, he wasn’t even the second, third, or fourth choice.
He tweeted, “Since we’re all currently living in #zombieland, @rhettreese & I thought it’d be fun to take you behind the curtain, back to the early days. The role Bill Murray played started in the original draft as Patrick Swayze. Patrick tragically got sick and we never had the [opportunity]…”
In addition to Swayze (who would have been incredible in the role, no doubt), Wernick teased that he and co-writer Rhett Reese wrote the scene for other actors including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Mark Hamill, Sylvester Stallone, and Kevin Bacon. Ultimately, they would land on Bill Murray, who turned his scene into an iconic film moment of the last two decades and would even inspire the best part of the ‘Zombieland’ sequel from last year.
You can read the script pages from the Swayze scene, as well as the Mark Hamill and Sylvester Stallone scenes.