A Trip to Zombieland: Woody Harrelson & Jesse Eisenberg


ShockTillYouDrop.com had spent a good portion of the morning watching Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg taking out two of the zombies that had taken up residence in the abandoned supermarket before we finally had a few minutes to talk to the two of them and get some idea of the chemistry between them as the two unlikely heroes of Ruben Fleischer’s zombie road comedy.

Shock: Woody, we just saw you outside playing with chainsaws.

Woody Harrelson: Two chainsaws.

Shock: Right, two chainsaws, so let’s talk about where do two chainsaws come in on this movie.

Harrelson: Well, it actually comes from a voiceover that Jesse has after he meets me and he says to my character “Tallahassee’s in the ass kicking business” and then you see me with the chainsaws “and business is good.” There’s some great lines in this script.

Shock: So is that what originally brought you to the project? You read the script and you said, “I want to do this”?

Harrelson: Yeah, I thought the script was phenomenal. And then I met Reuben and really liked him and I thought this guy is a go-getter. He’s really going to make a terrific movie and so far I’m really impressed with him.

Shock: It’s kind of surprising to see you do this kind of genre stuff. Are you a fan of this genre at all? Do you like these kinds of movies? Are they something you wanted to try to do?

Harrelson: No, I never thought about it honestly until I saw and read the script.

Shock: So what kind of dynamic has it been between the two of you working together? We saw you earlier, Woody, improvising a little bit, so what’s that been like with that?

Harrelson: Well we generally try to warm up each other.

Jesse Eisenberg: Yeah, shout out the last line in the scene.

Harrelson: We drag this thing out. We’ll have a 45-minute improv over…

Eisenberg: Regardless of whether we’re on camera or not.

Harrelson: It’s weird, but it’s fun.

Shock: Jesse, what’s it been like carrying that shotgun around?

Eisenberg: Oh its good. They make me carry the real one. I want to carry the rubber one because it makes me look stronger. There’s like four characters in the movie and we all have names for our real guns and then for our rubber guns.

Harrelson: His real gun is named “Farmer.”

Eisenberg: The rubber gun is “The Baker.”

Harrelson: “The Baker.”

Eisenberg: What do you have?

Harrelson: That’s too private. [laughs]

Shock: What was it about the script that attracted you to do this?

Eisenberg: Yeah, the same as him. The characters are so well-defined and done in a multi-dimensional way, which is rare in a movie like this which is so fun and theatrical to have characters that are also really great and real. And you also meet him, he’s encouraging to make the characters even more real and emotionally honest and stuff that is attractive to an actor.

Shock: Well, let’s be honest. It really is about fighting zombies, too. So could you talk a little bit about being in a film in which both of you are fighting zombies?

Eisenberg: Again, I’m only really into the soliloquies and I get somebody else to do the other stuff.

Harrelson: I just say personally it’s very cathartic. Zombie killing.

Eisenberg: My mother was a zombie and so it also feels cathartic to finally get that stuff out.

Shock: Jesse, having done a werewolf movie, which ones are more dangerous?

Eisenberg: I guess we’ll find out if we survive or not. Werewolves are much more aggressive but zombies come in mass.

Harrelson: And they’re persistent.

Shock: You guys filmed for a few weeks at the amusement park, which actually between this and Adventureland, what is it with you and amusement parks?

Eisenberg: I think limited range. [laughs]

Shock: We heard there’s a lot of stunts and action and you guys shot there for a number of weeks. Could you talk about filming at the amusement park and what challenges there were with all these stunts and action sequences?

Eisenberg: Oh, the challenges of that kind of stuff?

Harrelson: The primary challenge was the cold.

Eisenberg: Yeah, it was freezing even though we were in South Georgia shooting. That amusement park, it was strangely freezing.

Harrelson: They were saying like in 700 years, it’s never been that cold, so we were privileged to be there at that time, but it’s kind of fun in that amusement park. It was odd to shoot because a lot of that is in the end of the movie, so it was really weird shooting the end of the movie first but in the end it was kind of cool.

Eisenberg: All the various plotlines that happened there are so creative. Like he’s swinging from that thing with the chairs shooting zombies – that chair thing that flies around and swings in a circle. He’s like shooting zombies hanging off of that thing, and I run through a haunted house and I don’t know if the things are zombies or if they’re the fake skeletons that are coming out. Everything was so creative and specific and funny, so they really utilized the park to their great advantage.

Shock: It definitely seems like you’re letting him do more of the zombie killing. Is that true? Did you kind of hang back a little bit or do you eventually jump forward and try to do a little bit of it yourself?

Eisenberg: Yeah, I do towards the end as our arcs – but he’s kind of like an older brother and maniac.

Harrelson: Thank you for saying that.

Eisenberg: Yeah.

Harrelson: I’m glad you didn’t say father figure.

Eisenberg: Yeah, yeah. Like a step-brother wherein the father is so old that the step-brother can be so much older. Even older than a father naturally would be just based on the age gaps in America.

Harrelson: Almost like older than the grandfather.

Eisenberg: Yeah.

Shock: Where do your characters first meet? Is that something you can tell us?

Eisenberg: We all assume we’re like the last people on Earth because the world’s been overrun by zombies so we kind of run into each other hitchhiking and he picks me up.

Shock: We know that you have a number of rules, or your character has a number of rules, we saw an anamatic of the 4th one. Could you talk a little bit about them? They seem very funny.

Harrelson: They are. My character is obsessed with “sticking to the rules and if I do that I’ll survive” is his logic. So they’re very specific and practical things, like check the back seat when you get into a car because you never know if somebody’s hiding in the back seat. Or wear your seatbelt because you’re already stopping short and you’d go through the windshield or stretching because you have to…and the funniest one is cardio. Just do a lot of cardio because you’re always running from the zombies.

Shock: Can you talk a bit about your relationship with the girls in the film?

Eisenberg: It’s good.

Harrelson: It’s a little terse at first.

Eisenberg: They’re kind of con-artists.

Shock: What were they conning in the post-apocalyptic wasteland? What can you be conned out of?

Eisenberg: Well the limited resources that exist compared to the limited people that…

Harrelson: Yeah, they’re not trusting so they don’t want to trust us and they want to take what we’ve got, what limited resources we got like our vehicle, our weapons.

Source: Edward Douglas