Bill Murray’s ‘Zombieland’ Part Was For Another Actor

zombieland, a comedy about a wayward group of misfits just trying to survive the zombie apocalypse, was the surprise hit of 2009. Throw in a cameo from Bill Murray and you’re sure to have a great time. Although Murray’s short appearance helped make the film happen, he wasn’t the first choice for the role.

Bill Murray | Rocco Spaziani/Getty Images

It’s a comedy about zombies and survival

It’s a story of survival in a world populated by a well-known enemy, the zombies. zombieland, according to IMDb, depicts the United States as being decimated by a virus that turns everyone infected into flesh-eating zombies. Only a few uninfected humans are left standing.

Columbus, played by Jesse Eisenberg, is a student from Texas who tries to return home to Ohio in order to check if his parents are still alive. It is his phobic personality that helps Columbus stay away from zombies and survive this difficult situation. Along the way, Columbus meets Tallahassee, played by Woody Harrelson. Tallahassee travels to Florida and kills as many zombies as possible along the way. Tallahassee is also looking for a Twinkie. Tallahassee agrees to let Columbus ride.

While stopping at a grocery store in search of Twinkies, the couple encounter a few zombies as well as two girls, Wichita and Little Rock, played by Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin. These two sisters have been alone longer than the zombie outbreak and hope to get to an amusement park in Los Angeles known to be a safe place from zombies. After further shenanigans, including a run-in with Bill Murray, the foursome realize they’ve created their own quirky family and move on.

Murray is played as a zombie

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Once the foursome arrive in Hollywood, they find Bill Murray’s house. Much to the shock of wayward travellers, Murray is alive and well and survived by disguising himself as a zombie. The zombies do not attack their own and this allows Murray to move freely around the city. Murray and the others decide to scare Columbus as they act out scenes from ghost hunters. Unfortunately, the prank goes south when Columbus actually shoots and kills Murray, mistaking him for a real zombie.

Although this scene is probably the most memorable scene in zombieland, it was not originally intended for Murray. According to HuffPost, Murray’s cameo was originally written for Patrick Swayze. The film’s directors, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick reached out to a whole list of celebrities for the cameo part, including Swayze, Sylvester Stallone, Mark Hamill and Jean Claude Van Damme. Swayze was their first choice, but he couldn’t make it to the set due to pancreatic cancer at the time.

The search for the perfect cameo continued until two days before filming and without an actor. The directors asked Harrelson if he had any ideas on who could play the role. Reese said: “We approached Woody Harrelson on set and said, ‘Woody, anyone else? Do you have any other ideas? He said, ‘Dustin Hoffman and Bill Murray.’ We were like, ‘Yes and yes.’ “The notice was too short for Hoffman, but Murray agreed after receiving the script via Kinkos.

Murray was still hesitant to take the role due to the nature of the scene. Reese and Wernick spoke to the Q&A podcast about the cameo and said, “It was a great action scene. It was all that stuff at home, all the jokes about his career. But when he finally showed up, he just attacked them. And he was the most devastating and hard to destroy zombie of all time. The scene was not originally a comedy scene. But, after Murray expressed his concerns, the necessary rewrites were made and they created the scene zombieland is famous for.

Harrelson wants to return to “Zombieland”

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zombieland was a pretty big hit in 2009. It was big enough to merit a sequel called Zombieland: double tap in 2019. The original quartet reunited to fight the ongoing undead insurgency.

And now Harrelson wants to make a third installment. He told Screenrant, “I haven’t heard anything about it from many creative elements. I would love to do it because I love these guys. This whole group is really… It’s a singularly wonderful, fun, incredibly funny group of people. So what I’m saying is I’m open to that.

RELATED: ‘Zombieland 2’: Everything we know so far

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