Call it the sequel you knew you wanted, only you forgot. Five years after the original film became a surprise hit at the box office, Sony seems serious about finally mounting a sequel. As being reported by Deadline, the studio has hired Dave Callaham (The Expendables) to pen the script and is negotiating with Ruben Fleischer to return as director.
What is unclear at this point, and will be interesting to monitor, is whether Sony can get all of the actors from the original to reprise their roles. In the time since, each of them has seen their careers take off to varying degrees. Jesse Eisenberg of course starred as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in David Fincher’s lauded The Social Network a year later, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He’s currently filming Batman v. Superman, in which he plays Lex Luthor. Emma Stone also went on to receive awards recognition, earning a Golden Globe nomination for her work in Easy A (2010), as well as heaps of critical praise after starring in The Help (2011). She also has starred in a pair of movies in Sony’s lucrative Spider-Man franchise reboot as Spidey’s girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. Woody Harrelson has experienced a bit of a career resurgence of late, thanks not only to his recurring role in the blockbuster Hunger Games franchise, but also because of his critically-praised turn opposite Matthew McConaughey in HBO’s True Detective series. Abigail Breslin starred in the big-budget Ender’s Game (2013), and – somewhat ironically – will play a young girl bitten by a zombie opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in next year’s Maggie.
The one true wild card – in every sense of the term – is Bill Murray, whose cameo in the first movie was a huge hit with audiences. The eclectic actor is notoriously hard to nail down for any role, even turning down opportunities to reprise one of his most beloved characters in Ghostbusters 3.
The writer, Callaham, has story credits on all of the Expendables movies as well as this year’s Godzilla reboot. For Fleischer, ever since the original helped launch his career, he’s been searching for the same level of success. 2011’s action-comedy 30 Minutes or Less (also with Eisenberg) was a dud, and 2013’s Gangster Squad (which Stone had a part in) was reviled by critics and ignored by audiences. A Zombieland sequel could be just what his career needs.