Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick Talk Amazon Studios ZOMBIELAND Pilot; Starts 2 Weeks After Movie Ended, Aiming for 13 Episode First Season

     March 23, 2013


When director Ruben Fleischer’s 2009 film Zombieland turned out to be a huge hit, talk immediately turned to a prospective sequel for the comedy.  Since Zombieland was originally envisioned as a weekly TV series by screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick before it was reimagined as a feature film, most figured the sequel would be on a fast track to theaters.  However, like many projects in Hollywood, what sounded like a good idea never made it to the starting gate, and Fleischer recently told us that the chances of Zombieland 2 coming to fruition are very slim.  However, if you’ve been waiting to see more post-apocalyptic adventures with Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock, you’re not going to have to wait much longer.

As we’ve previously reported, Amazon Studios and Sony TV have teamed up to create a pilot for a Zombieland TV series that continues the story on the small screen, with new actors playing the key roles.  While we knew the pilot had recently been shot, details about the show have been under wraps.  So when I sat down a few hours ago with Reese and Wernick for G.I. Joe: Retaliation (which they also wrote), I got an update on the pilot.  The big news is the show starts two weeks after the movie ended and it’s got the same tone (they’re not trying to make another Walking Dead).  Amazon is going to put the pilot online next month and if enough people watch, it’s going to get a 13-episode first season.  Hit the jump for more.

zombieland-tv-seriesBesides learning that Amazon will put it online next month, Reese and Wernick gave me a few other bits of news that I hadn’t heard:

  • Zombieland is going to be a thirty minute show.  Right now the pilot is 26 minutes and change and the goal is for future episodes to range from 22 to 30 minutes.
  • Amazon is going to put all the pilots they commissioned online and the viewers will decide what shows get full seasons.  This is very unusual and very cool.
  • While some might want to see another zombie show like The Walking Dead, the tone of Zombieland will be like the movie and the first episode starts two weeks after the movie ended with the four of them still in Los Angeles getting ready to go on a road trip.
  • When they pitched Amazon on the show, they pitched a vague season arc.  However, they know where it will end and how it’s a road trip to a specific destination.  They don’t yet know some of the middle episodes.
  • The aim is to do a 13 episode first season.
  • They were very involved in the casting and if the show gets picked up, they will be heavily involved.

rhettreesepaulwernick-zombieland-tv-seriesHere’s the part of the interview on Zombieland.  Look for more with Reese and Wernick all week.

Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick:

  • How it’s a crazy road to getting Zombieland on TV (or the web)
  • Pilot will air in the middle of April on Amazon.  They will stream all their pilots.
  • 1:15 – What will the tone be on the Zombieland TV show.  Will be exactly like the movie.
  • 1:40 – They say it’s a 30 minute show (not an hour). They want the episodes to be between 22 and 30 minutes.  The pilot is 26 and change.
  • 2:10 – How many episodes would the first season be.  They say 13.
  • 2:30 – Did they outline the first season yet?   They say they pitched a vague season arc.  They know where it will end and how it’s a road trip to a specific destination.
  • 2:50 – The pilot starts in Los Angeles two weeks after the movie ended.  The pilot is the same characters but they’ve been recast.
  • 3:05 – How involved were they in the casting