The iconic ‘zomedy’ is back

Raymond de Asis Lo - The Philippine Star
The iconic âzomedyâ is back
British-Canadian actor Avan Jogia with the Top 5 winning poster arts

MANILA, Philippines — To celebrate the global theatrical release of the film Zombieland: Double Tap, the highly-anticipated sequel to the 2009 hit film and cult classic Zombieland, Columbia Pictures invited artists from all over the world to a poster art contest bearing inspirations from the movie. The contest attracted 600 entries and 40 were selected as finalists. Mark Louie Superales from the Philippines, whose artwork depicted the four main characters from the movie as headstones ala Mount Rushmore, was one of the lucky finalists.

The Top 5 winners were unveiled at a party followed by a special screening in Los Angeles on Tuesday this week. British-Canadian actor Avan Jogia, who plays Berkeley, a new character in the sequel, helped reveal the winners.

The winning posters came from the UK, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey, which had two winning entries. The most striking poster art exhibited during the party was from Norway, it was the only original artwork on display (all the other entries were submitted digitally and had to be reproduced for the exhibit) and it was mounted on a stand with black lights on top and the bottom. The effect was extraordinary with the main characters in their iconic stance and a throng of zombies trying desperately to grab them.

The overwhelming response to the contest was a testament to the massive cult following of the 2009 movie.

 Though no one could have predicted the cult following that would transpire when the first Zombieland was released, the now iconic “zomedy” — a genre-bending horror/comedy that cheekily chronicled the fight between the living dead and the surviving ass-kickers, ushered in a new zombie era on both TV and film.

Venom director Ruben Fleischer, whose feature directorial debut was the first Zombieland, is back at the helm working on a zippy screenplay by writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. The insanely talented and kinetic original cast members — Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin — are also back in action.

This writer has seen the movie and is happy to report that it is one of the funniest movies of the year with an unexpected cameo, wink, wink, that will send everyone laughing hysterically. Our screening ended with the audience giving the movie a resounding ovation!

“Part of why it has become so beloved by people is because it has a lot of heart and it’s really about the characters and their relationships as much as about shooting zombie’s heads off,” director Ruben stated in a previous interview. “And the script was hilarious and completely original. I give so much credit to Rhett and Paul for writing such an amazing script that launched this whole journey.”

Poster art finalists from the Philippines, US, Turkey and Norway

But for such a beloved cult classic, why did it take over 10 years for fans to get a sequel?

“The challenge was getting a script worthy of making a second movie,” Ruben explained. “Their feeling was the first movie was so beloved, we can’t enter into this unless we have one that’s at least as good if not better than the original.”

“They made it so special, and I think that’s the reason that we all wanted to come back,” Emma said. The Oscar-winning actress for La La Land was a relative Hollywood newcomer when the first movie came out. Today, she headlines her own movies!

Woody, meanwhile, was the most discerning about the sequel. When he finally read the final script, he quipped, “They hit a homerun. They’re just incredible writers. And they finally cracked it.” 

For the actor, a return to Zombieland also meant a return to fun. “People always ask me: What movie was the most fun for you to make? And I think the first Zombieland was in the Top 3 of the funniest movies I ever made,” he said.

Whereas the first film centered on the core four loners on a road trip through the zombie apocalypse that ultimately became a makeshift family, the sequel focuses on keeping that family together and, similar to the first film, the writers give us a world that straddles the line between terrifying and hilarious. 

“We really wanted to tap into the idea that the post apocalypse is a still wonderful albeit lawless place. Think about it — you could drive any car you want, live wherever you want, or even kill with reckless abandon. Anything goes.”

Of course, it didn’t hurt that the cast had developed into a family of their own, staying in touch over the years and carrying their onscreen chemistry to real life.

 “It’s just such a fun dynamic,” Jesse stated. The hyperkinetic actor, whose frenetic delivery of dialogues made him an ideal Mark Zuckerberg in the Oscar-winning film The Social Network, returns to the original character that endeared him to his fans. “The random luck of us being nice, normal, funny people makes it work so well, you can put us in any kind of context and it will always be interesting and entertaining because the interactions we have are endlessly workable.” 

“We’ve all remained pretty close, so it doesn’t really feel like a reunion in the sense that we haven’t talked to each other, including Ruben. It feels like getting to hang out with my buddies and goof around. It’s been really special and very uplifting to be around everybody again,” Emma added.  

Abigail, who was the “baby” in the first movie, also returns but she’s now a young lady who falls in love with Berkeley, the character played by Avan, a guitar-carrying and pacifist hippie who doesn’t believe in aggression against the zombies and lives out the apocalypse by appropriating songs by famous artists and claiming it as his own. Fun!

ZombielandDouble Tap opens in local cinemas on Oct. 23.


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