Zombieland Director Ruben Fleischer Talks "The Cameo"

October 6, 2009  |  1:00pm
Spoiler Warning: If you haven't seen Zombieland and plan to, you should probably just go ahead and stop reading now.

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Zombieland has its share of "Gotcha!" moments, but there's one that clearly cuts above the rest. About two-thirds in, the film abandons its road-movie roots for a stretch in Los Angeles, an invitation for some meta in-jokes and the desecration of famous showbiz landmarks. But Zombieland soldiers past the usual grind and in a bizarre, hilariously drawn-out sequence features...

...Bill Murray, clad in zombie makeup, doing reenactments of Ghostbusters after he hits a bong with the other castmates.

When we talked to director Ruben Fleischer about the movie last week, we asked about the cameo and he talked about it as long as we waited out the weekend to publish his words. 

Fleischer said the part wasn't originally written for Murray and in fact was nearly impossible to lock down. "It was written for a lot of different people. Originally, Patrick Swayze, and then a whole host of different people who dropped out," Fleischer said, adding that the original role was written before the late actor became ill. "And then we had somebody who was involved up until like a week before filming, and then fell out."

He said classic Hollywood currency finally landed Murray in the role. "At the last minute we were scrambling for someone to fill that role. We made a call through friends, and Bill Murray agreed. We didn't have anyone until like 36 hours before filming."

Everyone scrambled to take advantage of the deal, none more than Murray himself. (Murray's character was supposed to be a real, blood-sputtering zombie, not the droll pretender in hiding that ended up in the movie.) Said Fleischer: "Being Bill Murray, he brought a lot to it himself to the role."

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