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Jesse Eisenberg Talks Reuniting With Original ‘Zombieland’ Cast for Sequel: We’re ‘Eager to Help Each Other’

Jesse Eisenberg Previews Zombieland Sequel Newest Characters
Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg in ‘Zombieland 2: Double Tap. Jessica Miglio/SONY PICTURES

Ten years after the original film, the slayers return with a new mission — but the same quick wit!

In a world of reboots and sequels, Jesse Eisenberg was well aware there was an appetite for another Zombieland — he just wanted to wait for the right script. So, when Zombieland: Double Tap landed on his desk, he knew it was time. The actor, who plays Columbus, took Us Weekly inside his postapocalyptic reunion with Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin.

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“I think if we saw each other in 50 years, it’d still be the same dynamic,” Eisenberg, 36, says in the latest issue. That said, the group also welcomed many newcomers. Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Dan Akroyd, Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch are among the new stars of the sequel.

Read through the full Q&A below.

Us Weekly: It’s been a decade since the first movie. Why now for a follow-up?
It didn’t feel appropriate to make a sequel just because it was popular. People really love [Zombieland] for personal reasons. It felt like the sequel would only work if it was as good and had an emotional center like the first one did, rather than just being an extension of the comedy.

Us: What made this script stand out?
Our writers, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, created real, emotional characters. Our director, Ruben Fleischer, encouraged the actors not to shy away from the emotion. I’d walk past the monitor after a scene and Ruben would be tearing up. It’s not the kind of thing you might expect from a zombie comedy. That’s what makes it so special.

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Us: Where are the characters today?
They’ve moved into the White House because there’s no one else on Earth. They’ve become like a family, and that means they love each other more but are also more irritated with each other. They’re kind of curious about the outside world but incredibly suspicious of it. It’s like what happens to a family after you’re stuck together for a decade.

Us: What was the cast reunion like?
I mean, we’re all funny people and all very eager to help each other excel rather than compete for a joke. We fit perfectly. It’s just the luck of the draw that it worked out that way. One of the [advantages] of it is that you can come back in 10 years and it feels the same.

Jesse Eisenberg Previews Zombieland Sequel Newest Characters
Rosario Dawson and Jesse Eisenberg in ‘Zombieland 2: Double Tap. Jessica Miglio/SONY PICTURES

Us: The core of the first movie was Columbus’ relationship with Tallahassee (Harrelson). Where do they stand in this movie?
They’re what season 8 was for The Odd Couple, where the characters are no longer annoyed with new discoveries of each other, but rather accepting of the things that irritate them. They’re no longer surprised by how annoying the other guy is but kind of love him for it.

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Us: Rosario Dawson, Thomas Middleditch and Zoey Deutch joined for the sequel. What can you tell us about their characters?
The characters are all really funny, and the actors are just brilliant. I mainly worked with Zoey, who’s so unbelievable. It was one of the funniest things I’d ever seen from an actor. She’s brilliant as this character, who’s ditzy but has her own kind of logic and a really strong set of core convictions. I also worked very closely with Thomas, who plays my doppelgänger. This guy’s also just unbelievably funny — the character he plays is a surreal element of the movie. I thought, “If this works well, it’ll be the best scene in the movie because it’s so creative and original.”

Zombieland: Double Tap hits theaters on Friday, October 18.

For more, pick up Us Weekly, on newsstands now.

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