Being a sequel coming out a decade after its predecessor, Zombieland: Double Tap is hitting theaters with a particular amount of pressure on it, but it’s actually a pressure with which the movie’s writers are already familiar. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick faced similar stakes just last year with the release of Deadpool 2, as there was an immense burden to make a film as good or better than the first.
As many will remember, everything worked out quite well for the writing/producing duo, as Deadpool 2 was both acclaimed and made just as much money as the original – so it was very much a positive learning experience. It was something they brought with them into the making of Zombieland: Double Tap, as I learned sitting down with them this past weekend during the movie’s Los Angeles press day.
During our interview I specifically asked what they took from their time making Deadpool 2 into the development of the Zombieland sequel, and Rhett Reese explained,
I think it's just one day at a time. Deadpool 2, I think more than anything, taught us that ultimately you have to silence the voices outside you, and you've got to just go into your cave and work with your creative people that you love, and try to make each other laugh and just do your best to ignore the pressure. Forget it.
Continuing, the writer explained that the process requires a bit of imagination, but the ultimate goal is to try and totally dismiss all of the pressure, and just follow the same instincts that resulted in a successful movie the first time around:
Pretend as though you're back on the first movie when nobody knew really who Deadpool was, or Zombieland – obviously they literally didn't know what it was because that was the first time it'd ever been on screen. So it's really just about putting those voices at arm's length and forgetting the fact that there's this beast out there, this collective audience beast that is ready to chew you up, and just do the work.
As noted by Rhett Reese, ignoring the pressure doesn’t make it not exist – and it is very real, as disappointed can be extremely vicious. But nothing about it is a benefit to the creative process, so it all just needs to be put aside. Ultimately Reese and Paul Wernick found magic working with Ryan Reynolds and David Leitch in the making of Deadpool 2, and so they let the same thing happen with director Ruben Fleischer and stars Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin in the making of Zombieland: Double Tap.
It’s notably a successful effort too, as the new movie very much recaptures the spirit of the original Zombieland – coalescing as a fun and freaky 10 year reunion (as I wrote in my review of the movie). Fans will be able to see it for themselves this weekend, as Zombieland: Double Tap will be playing in theaters nationwide.