Watching Bill Murray’s short-lived house party with the idiot road warriors in the original Zombieland may have felt like the time of our movie-loving lives, but Murray’s walk-on (and slapstick demise) originally was meant to go to a certain shaggy-haired, Dirty-Dancing actor.
Murray ended up filling the role after the late, great Patrick Swayze, whom the Zombieland team reportedly favored for the part, fell ill before he could be cast. But thanks to an awesome bit of sharing from co-writer and EP Paul Wernick, we’re no longer in the Donnie Darko about how things would have played out if it had been Swayze, instead of Murray, who found a quartet of unwelcome survivors in his Hollywood home.
Promising more bits of Zombieland script trivia in the days to come, Wernick shot out a series of tweets this week that contain the full script he and co-writer Rhett Reese came up with for Swayze’s cameo, and it’s a bumbling blast of hilarious missteps, false moves, and physical-comedy pratfalls that would’ve taken Swayze out of the picture just when things were getting really good.
Swayze evidently was meant to never utter a word, watching silently as Woody Harrelson's Tallahassee (named “Albuquerque” in this draft), Jesse Eisenberg's Columbus (“Flagstaff”), Abigail Breslin's Little Rock (“Stillwater”), and Emma Stone's Wichita backed their way into full-blown chaos. Check it out:
As Wernick noted in a separate tweet, Swayze was the team’s first cameo choice as they set out to cast the 2009 movie — but they also had an intriguing list of other candidates, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Mark Hamill, Sylvester Stallone, and more celebrities known for their type-A screen roles. True to their word, Reese followed his co-writer’s script share by tweeting out the treatment they’d also planned to give Stallone, if only he’d been able to take the part:
Hey, no one’s complaining about the way Zombieland turned out, with Murray deadpanning his way to the croaky finish line. But with scripts like these floating around, we can’t help but wish there were some parallel universe out there where there could’ve been a Zombieland movie filled with nothing but epic celebrity cameos.
At least we know what might have been, thanks to a pair of writers who recognize just how much these little moments mean for fans. Grab a pool cue and pour one out for all the big-name roadhouse crashes that might have been, while checking out Zombieland and Zombieland: Double Tap, both ready to rock at Amazon Prime.