How Zombieland: Double Tap’s Director Was Inspired To Design The World 10 Years After The First Movie

Abigail Breslin Rosario Dawson Jesse Eisenberg Emma Stone and Woody Harrelson in Zombieland Double T

When we first experienced the world of Zombieland 10 years ago, the undead apocalypse in-universe was still a relatively recent phenomenon. While the flesh-eating walking corpses had certainly done quite a lot of damage by the time the story caught up with the film’s protagonists, the voice over narration from Jesse Eisenberg’s Columbus informs the audience that the events that take place in the movie are only set about two months after a diseased burger doomed the planet.

Because of this, the world we saw in the film wasn’t too far off from our own – mostly just filled with more abandoned cars and occupied by fewer people than what we see every day. Of course, such was not the case for the upcoming sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap. The movie picks up with its predecessor’s main characters a full 10 years after the events of the previous feature, and that simple fact required the filmmakers to present the development of the planet in a very different way.

Back in late August I joined a small group of journalists for a Zombieland: Double Tap edit bay visit on the Sony Pictures Lot in Culver City, CA, and it was in conversation with director Ruben Fleischer that we learned about the special ways the walking dead-infested Earth has changed since we last saw it in 2009. As we learned from the filmmaker, there was some legitimate research done to make sure that everything looked accurate in the movie given a) the events that transpired to limit human population, and b) how much time had passed. Said Fleischer,

There's a great - I think it's History Channel or Discovery - series called Life After People. And it kind of talks about the phases of what happens if people were just to be gone tomorrow and how nature kind of takes back over the country. And there's also a book that I read, I think “The World Without Us” or something like this, I forget the name. But they both are kind of like studies on how slowly... Really it's about nature, the way it would start to come back, whether it's animals, or vegetation. Our structures would kind of crumble and stuff like that.

(Note: Life After People is a History Channel show, and “The World Without Us” is indeed the title, written by author Alan Weisman)

It was a subject that came up thanks to a bit of Zombieland: Double Tap footage that was shown to the group, namely a scene with a conversation between Columbus, Woody Harrelson’s Tallahassee, and a new character, Zoey Deutch's Madison – who lives in a mall freezer to stay away from cannibal corpses. When Madison complains about it being a cold environment, Tallahassee suggests her turning it off, to which she replies that there is no switch, and that she’s just been waiting for the electricity to run out. It’s this comment that leads Columbus to chime in, “As long as it keeps raining, the dams keep giving us power.”

Per Ruben Fleischer’s research this is a real thing that would actually happen, and potentially allow electricity to still exist in the world even 10 years after humans had abandoned power plants. So if you find yourself watching Zombieland: Double Tap and feeling incredulous about the fact that there are working lightbulbs, know that it’s not as crazy as it might seem.

Based on a script by the writers of the original Zombieland, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, Zombieland: Double Tap reunites audiences with the aforementioned Columbus and Tallahassee, as well as Emma Stone’s Wichita and Abigail Breslin’s Little Rock – all of whom have taken up residence together in the White House. Things aren’t exactly all peaceful, however, and things actually get a bit chaotic when Little Rock runs off with a cute boy named (Avan Jogia). A road trip is inspired to find her, bringing the characters back out into the craziness of the world.

Zombieland: Double Tap is set to be released almost 10 years to the day after Zombieland, and that anniversary is coming up soon. The film will be hitting theaters everywhere on October 18, and you’ll definitely want to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend as we have more coverage for you leading up to the release!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.