In an interview at STYD, co-writer Rhett Reese states:
"That was many years ago, before he got sick. It was [going to be] a Patrick Swayze zombie. They got attacked by him zombified and we had these wonderful moments where they found a potter's wheel and there's Columbus on the wheel and these other hands come up behind him and it's Patrick Swayze the zombie. Ultimately, they fight and Patrick bull rushes Tallahassee who grabs him and lifts him into the air, a la Jennifer Grey, and smashes him into a pillar."
Apparently, this all was slated back when Zombieland was planned to be a TV series pilot some years ago. Swayze had to decline the offer due to his condition, and along the way the project morphed into a feature film.
Meanwhile, the idea of the celeb cameo zombie survived, with the filmmakers reportedly going after a number of actors such as Sylvester Stallone, Mark Hammill, Joe Pesci, Kevin Bacon, The Rock, Matthew McConaughey and Jean-Claude Van Damme. In the end, they managed to nab Bill Murray for the role, and already there are reports that his appearance is the comedic highlight of the film.
While I do concede that a Swayze zombie would've been cool, I'd just like to give a great big "BOOOO, HISSSSS!!!" to the Zombieland marketing team for choosing to capitalize on the actor's passing as a way to promote their film. Thanks.
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I'd like to thank the one and only Wes "Fierce" Cavins, a Vault Dweller from way back, who was kind enough to pimp the VoH blog banner. Thanks Wes, you rock sir.