There is a killer cameo in Zombieland. It’s quite possible that the few minutes of this cameo are funnier than anything else I’ve seen on screen this year; it’s certainly the best celebrity cameo since Patrick Stewart showed up on Extras. I won’t spoil it for you – some assholes out there have done so in early reviews*, and that’s too bad.
But the cameo was almost very different. And the filmmakers are very, very happy that it’s different. See, originally it was going to be a zombie Patrick Swayze.
Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick told Shock Til You Drop about the original cameo: “It was [going to be] a Patrick Swayze zombie. They got attacked by
him zombified and we had these wonderful moments where they found a
potter’s wheel and there’s Columbus [Jesse Eisenberg] on the wheel and these other hands
come up behind him and it’s Patrick Swayze the zombie. Ultimately, they
fight and Patrick bull rushes Tallahassee [Woody Harrelson] who grabs him and lifts him
into the air, a la Jennifer Grey, and smashes him into a pillar.”
They had written that cameo before Swayze got sick. When he backed out they went through a bunch of other names, finally settling on who they now have. Again, it’s an amazing scene, so don’t let it get spoiled.
My Zombieland review should be coming shortly – maybe next week – but in the meantime I’ll tell you that the movie is very, very funny. I think you’re going to like this one.
* It’s possible that we ran a news story about this back when the movie was filming. I’m too lazy to look it up (and you shouldn’t either). In my defense, I didn’t know this was a killer and secret cameo. I thought it was a real role.