The long rumored sequel to the surprise 2009 hit "Zombieland" seems to be dead at this point. (Not zombie dead. Really dead.) The reason -- and the good news for fans of the film -- is that Amazon has ordered a pilot that continues the adventures of Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock as they make their way through the zombified wasteland of the United States.
Now, adapting a film into a television series isn't too much of a stretch in this case, considering that the original film was supposed to be a series in the first place. We spoke to the two writers of the new "Zombieland" pilot, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who also wrote the film and are currently on a press tour to promote their new film, "G.I. Joe: Retaliation." Reese and Wernick explained the process of adapting the film and talked about replacing its stars, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin.
The "Zombieland" series with Amazon sounds really interesting. But at the same time, does this kill any chance of a sequel?
Wernick: It definitely puts it on hold. I mean, this is our passion now and we're able to tell stories in ways that we wouldn't otherwise be able to tell in a sequel. You know, Amazon orders 13 episodes and we've got a lot of fun stories to tell. It's a roadshow. And it always was conceived as a TV show. We wrote it in 2005 for CBS. There are numerous elements of the movie that you'll watch and realize that it was conceived as a TV show -- the "Zombie Kill Of The Week" and things like that. So it will allow us to tap into those things that we love. And in terms of the sequel, who knows? The success of the show could re-energize the sequel. But for right now, we couldn't be happier that we're doing this on Amazon and breaking new ground.
Reese: I think the disappointment over the lack of an imminent movie sequel will immediately be replaced and forgotten against this backdrop of a really exciting, fun new television show. That's our hope.
Is it hard to cast actors for roles that people already know? You have to replace Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone, for example.
Wernick: Yeah, I mean, it is tough, but I think when you're casting -- and then when people are watching it -- everyone needs to remember that we're casting for a character and it's not actors coming in to recreate Woody Harrelson or Jesse Eisenberg. It's actors coming in to bring to life characters. And it's been done to success in various transitions.
"M*A*S*H" is an example.
Wernick: "M*A*S*H" and "Buffy" and "Friday Night Lights" is another great example. It's like, no one could have pictured anyone playing the Billy Bob character other than Billy Bob -- and then Kyle Chandler came along and then it was like, my God, no one even remembered Billy Bob. And I'm not saying that's gonna happen on this show, because Woody was so iconic and so phenomenal. But I think that if fans give it an opportunity, I think they'll embrace it and love it.
Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.
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