The screenwriting book I’m working through at the moment claims that aspiring writers should focus on knocking out scripts for TV shows rather than films, because there’s more space to be filled in the TV schedules, and therefore more of a “hunger” for new material. A few days after reading that, I happened to watch Zombieland (2009), which began as a spec script for a one hour TV pilot… but the writers couldn’t find anyone interested enough to buy it, so they rewrote it as a feature film instead!
I’d actually been putting off watching this flick, for the same reason I bailed on Being Human after the first episode… it seemed too close to the sort of thing I write myself, and I was worried it would just fill me with burning envy and self-loathing regret. Eep! In fact, I really enjoyed it… although, once again (as the filmmakers admit) the antagonists aren’t really “zombies” or even “undead”, they’re just victims of a rage virus that makes them run around biting people, rather than slowly shuffling after them. That geeky quibble aside, it’s a very funny and moving movie, with a great cast: Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin both play fantastically ballsy, bad-ass chicks, with a side-line in wary cynicism, but they also bring a lot of heart and soul to their roles. I have to give a nod to Amber Heard too, for her cameo as the hero’s infected (formerly hot) neighbour.
According to Wikipedia: “Zombieland received positive critical reviews and was a commercial success, grossing more than $60.8 million in 17 days and surpassing the 2004 film Dawn of the Dead as the top-grossing zombie film to date in the United States.” Crikey! There are also rumours of a TV spin-off in the works… and I could see that being pretty fun, if it kept the same playful spirit as the movie… like The Walking Dead, but with characters you actually care about!