Halfway through director Ruben Fleischer's upcoming horror comedy movie Zombieland, the main characters enter the mansion of a well-known Hollywood celebrity who then actually makes an appearance in a surprising way. We won't spoil the surprise, but you'll never guess how many celebrities were under consideration for zombie bits that didn't pan out because they declined or because they weren't available: We've got a list after the jump.
In Zombieland, four travelers meet up in a post-apocalyptic world in which the undead roam the landscape. The celebrity cameo takes place when the travelers—played by Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin—arrive in Hollywood.
"It was always scripted as a celebrity cameo, and ... we approached a bunch of different people who didn't particularly want to be in a zombie movie or didn't want to be a zombie and passed on it," Fleischer said in an exclusive interview. (Possible spoilers ahead!)
Mark Hamill. In one version of the script, the former Star Wars actor was discovered in his Beverly Hills house, undead and ready to fight. The script included a version of a human-on-zombie lightsaber fight. "There's not as wide of a variety of Mark Hamill references to draw from," Fleischer adds. "I think that's why maybe he wasn't interested, because, I guess, ... [he] doesn't want to be associated with that, or I don't know."
Sylvester Stallone. "Jesse's ... exploring the mansion. [Stallone] comes in, he's a zombie, ... Jesse charges him, and then it's basically all the jokes were tied to movies: They're sparring like Rocky, and there were some Rambo references. ... We kind of structured it that Woody's character was a huge fan of whatever celebrity's house they went to. ... That was the source of ... the comedy, when Woody would have to fight his idol."
Steven Seagal. The has-been '80s martial-arts action star would have, natch, fought with martial-arts moves. "They're all based on the same idea," Fleischer says.
Patrick Swayze. Before the beloved actor's passing from pancreatic cancer, the producers of Zombieland considered him for a role, but he was not available.
Could celebrities appear in a sequel if the move is a hit? "We haven't even talked about it, honestly," Fleischer says. Zombieland opens Oct. 2.