The comedy movie Zombieland was a bit of a surprise hit at the time of its release. Sure, it had the likes of Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Jesse Eisenberg in the lead roles, but how often does a comedy horror movie actually work? Well, it could have been even better had Bill Murray’s role been taken by the actor it was originally intended for.
It’s not easy to offer a fresh take on the zombie movie genre, but Zombieland’s fourth-wall-breaking guide to surviving an apocalypse somehow managed it. The 2000s movie even got a sequel, but the less we say about that, the better. One big reveal in the original film sees Ghostbusters actor Bill Murray playing a parody of himself in a scene which was a real crowd-pleaser at the time.
On Twitter, writer Rhett Reese revealed how there was one person in his mind who could have been even better than Murray, though.
“We wanted Joe Pesci for what turned out to Bill Murray’s role in Zombieland,” Rheese said in his tweet. “We warned Pesci’s agent it was a small part. He said, ‘There are no small parts, only small money.’ It was a no.”
What a shame! Joe Pesci has appeared in some of the best movies of all time, most notably in various works by Martin Scorsese. Just imagine Pesci asking Tallahassee and Columbus why they think he’s so funny with that classic menacing look on his face.
For more Bill Murray, check out our guide to Ant-Man 3, in which he makes a cameo appearance. Or, dive into Pesci’s golden era with our list of the best ‘90s movies.