Zombieland (2009) writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick shared that Bill Murray‘s famous cameo in the film was originally written for Patrick Swayze, during an interview on Geeking Out with Kevin Smith.


Many consider this cameo to be one of the funniest part of the 2009 horror comedy. The writers, however, tell us that the role was written for Swayze, who was very sick with pancreatic cancer and died before the film came to fruition. Many other actors, including Jean-Claude van Damme, Kevin Bacon and Mark Hamill (each of whom said no) were approached with the role before Murray agreed. And with each actor approached, a rewrite was in order to tailor the role to that specific actor’s comedic style.

Murray plays himself as a zombie apocalypse who pretends to be a zombie in order to stay alive. In fact, Murray’s character was also originally supposed to have been found as a zombie, but with Murray’s suggestion, the scenes were rewritten with him just pretending in order to stay alive. Murray was suggested for the role by Woody Harrelson, who starred in the film, and who had worked with Murray on the comedy Kingpin. Harrelson had to call Murray himself, as Murray famously has no email address and no agent.

Watch the interview from Geeking Out below. 

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