For Ruben Fleischer, many things had to fall in place for 2009's Zombieland to make an effective sequel. In a recent interview with EW, Fleischer explained the projects and distractions that kept the further post-apocalyptic adventures of Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone), and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) from happening until a decade later – in the upcoming sequel Zombieland: Double Tap.
"The easy answer is, I think we all wanted to stretch our legs a little bit and try different things. I think we were all excited to do other stuff. But, the other thing is, we just couldn't figure out the right story to tell. It took a minute to get a story that we all felt was worthy, to come back to Zombieland for.
We all have so much love for the original. So, we held ourselves to a really high standard as far as making sure that, if we were going to make a sequel, that it be at least as good, if not better, than the original. And that ultimately all comes down to the script. So, we were all demanding and discerning to make sure the story was one that was worth getting the gang back together. Sometimes it does take time to get that right."
Following the success of the 2009 hit, Fleischer stayed active producing and directing on television with Superstore, Santa Clarita Diet, Escape My Life, and more before landing Venom for Sony Pictures last year. Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick went on to work on both Deadpool films, 2013's GI Joe: Retaliation for Paramount, 2017's Life for Sony/Columbia Pictures, and streaming series Wayne for YouTube.
As for a third and future outings, Fleischer's taking a wait-and-see approach with Double Tap first:
"We have to see how this one's received and if that's something audiences would want, but I think we all had so much fun making this one, we'd be really lucky to get to return to Zombieland. Although, I will say, Emma said, she thought it would be fun if we did one of these every 10 years.
Knowing that Woody's just the healthiest guy there is, he's going to outlive all of us, and so we can just keep doing them every 10 years, 'til the end of time. I can't imagine a better way to look forward to my future than knowing that every 10 years I get to hang out with those guys and make a movie with them again."
Fleischer might be over-estimating the audience's patience for another outing…
Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch, and Avan Jogia are also set to star when Zombieland: Double Tap gets unleashed upon theaters on October 18, 2019.