Ask A Zombie Killer

What do you get when you have an Oscar-nominee and an up-and-coming young talent starring in one of the funniest movies of the year about zombie? Answer is Zombieland.
The Beacon had the chance to talk to Woody Harrelson (Natural Born Killlers) and Jesse Eisenberg (Adventureland) at the Shore Club in South Beach for the Zombieland press day. Not only do these men manage to share chemistry on the big screen, but they manage to carry it over off-screen as we had the chance to talk to us.
The Beacon: How much fun was it filming this movie?
Jesse Eisenberg: It was pretty fun. All the things that are fun to watch is often a tedious process because it takes hours to set up those scenes. The fun I found was improvising with Woody in the dialogue scenes, which was more acting-intensive than holding a hammer-intensive.
Woody Harrelson: It was very cathartic killing zombies. It is a nice way to release your inner rage.
The Beacon: Did you imagine someone that you dislike in real life and take it out on a zombie.
Woody: No, it was just mostly political figures.
The Beacon: How much improvisation did you two do in the movie?
Jesse: Every dialogue scene we did, we would probably for 20 minutes at a time for each of our takes.
Woody: It is nice to be able to wing it sometimes because you get cool spontaneous things you might not get otherwise. Sometimes it might be absolute crap , but for the few jewels that are in the take, it is well worth it.
The Beacon: When you guys got the script, what were your first thoughts?
Jesse: When I saw the title page, I thought I cannot imagine a good part there could be for an actor
Woody: You thought it was going to be stupid.
Jesse: Well, within the first line of the script, I realize this is great because it is funny and witty. The characters are good and everything is well defined. It is actually the first script I read over a period of several months of reading scripts. This one stood out as the cleverest character-driven scripts, even though it is a zombie comedy.
The Beacon: What was your favorite zombie kill to film?
Jesse: There is one where Woody uses two chainsaws.
Woody: How about the one with the butter knife?
Jesse: Which one was with a butter knife?
Woody: No, I just thought it would have been funny. The supermarket scene might have been my favorite to shoot. It made me laugh because it was funny how I had to wait for Jesse to tell me to swing so I can hit the zombie with a bat instead of Jesse himself.
The Beacon: Do you have a favorite zombie film?
Woody: I liked Shaun of the Dead, but to me, zombie movies really scare the crap out of me. The one movie with Will Smith (I Am Legend) was so terrifying and so was 28 Days Later. Those movies can really give you sleepless nights. I just prefer comedy.
The Beacon: Can you two relate to your characters?
Jesse: My character has an obsession to stay alive and I do not like to walk on cracks on the sidewalk. I have OCD in a lot of different thing that I am trying to work on with my dialectical behavior therapist. He is also trying to survive in a world overrun by zombies and if you meet my family… (laughs). No, It is just a joke. Woody met them yesterday.
Woody: They were sweet, sweet zombistic kind of people.
The Beacon: Do you pull any pranks on the set of Zombieland?
Jesse: It was the director’s (Rueben Fleischer) first movie so he was secretive to us and he wanted his actors to be happy and take care of us. We used Abigail Breslin to pretend that her last take was too traumatizing for her that she could not do another one. She would go to him hysterics and because she is one of the best actresses in the world, show would turn it on like that. We did this to him for like half a dozen times and he would say “We do not have to do another one, I am so sorry”. 15 minutes later, she would be fine.
The Beacon: How was working with Abigail?
Jesse: She is the smartest one in the room compare to both of us.
Woody: She is incredible. You forget that she is 12 years-old and she seems more mature then the rest of us. She is also an incredible actress. There is a scene where she has to cry. Not only does she do it beautifully in front of the cameras, but when the camera was on us, she is still crying. That is an incredible ability to access emotions.
The Beacon: There is a lot of action throughout the movie, but do you actually hit any zombie by accident.
Jesse: Emma Stone did at the time of shooting, but she did not know until we found while promoting the movie. She actually hit a guy, who was 60 feet off the ground and on a wire, with the gun so hard that he instantly fell down. He had to go to the hospital to get stitches, but he is fine now. He is an incredible stunt man who was actually Tobey Maguire’s stunt double in the Spider-Man movies as Spider-Man.
Woody: Are you sure he was the Spider-Man guy because I met another guy who said he was the Spider-Man guy? Huh.
The Beacon: Did you guys have any funny blooper during the shoot?
Woody: I do not remember that thing, do you?
Jesse: I try to forget them immediately. We would improvise so much that inevitably you say things that you immediately regret. I said something about the Incans and I felt embarrassed. Hopefully it is not going to be on the blooper reel because we might get a defamation lawsuit or something.

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