Amazon’s ‘Zombieland’ TV Series: Writers Open Up about Movie-TV Changes
Amazon's 'Zombieland' TV series has officially hit the network's streaming service, pulling ahead of the pack in the bid to obtain a series order based on viewer feedback. Critical reactions to the pilot adapting Ruben Fleischer's 2009 film have run the gamut, but what does the TV series allow that the movie didn't? And what do writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have to say about the benefits carried over from their original 2005 CBS pitch?
We were glad to see that Amazon's 'Zombieland' TV series kept the spirit of the movie, even without its A-list cast of Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin. Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick originally pitched the concept to CBS in 2005, when the network's passing ultimately led to the 2009 film version. Now that 'Zombieland' has gone back to its originally intended format (with its original Tallahassee, Kirk Ward) Reese and Wernick opened up to MTV Geek about some of Amazon's advantages.
Both writers claim that Amazon kept respect for the original vision of the series, less horrific and gory, with more emphasis on "splatstick" humor and comic zombie kills. In particular, the zombies run the gamut from intelligent to dumb, and die in more realistic ways than adhere to specific "plague" rules of other movie zombies.
As for recasting the lead roles vs. writing new characters, Reese and Wernick wanted to keep the dysfunctional family aspect of their original vision above all else. To that end, actors Kirk Ward, Maiara Walsh, Tyler Ross and Izabela Vodovic weren't asked to adhere to any of the movie portrayals, most notable in Ward's lacking Woody Harrelson's Southern accent.
The 'Zombieland' pilot will remain on Amazon's streaming website for the next month, while the potential series would see the gang headed East, with plenty of American landmarks and potential for celebrity appearances as well. In addition to ‘Zombieland’ and a number of children’s pilots, Amazon has also made available the premiere episodes of ‘Alpha House,’ ‘Betas,’ ‘Browsers,’ ‘Dark Minions,’ ‘Onion News Empire,’ ‘Supanatural’ and ‘Those Who Can’t.’
You can get a taste of the 'Zombieland' changes in the trailer below, and tell us what you think of the pilot in the comments!