I like Zombieland. A lot. It's funny, it's bloody, it's got the celebrity cameo of the century and I'd love to make a movie just as awesome someday. It was obvious I had to interview the director, Ruben Fleischer. Not just because our "Rubens" are spelled the same.
OH. In case you haven't seen the movie yet (big mistake), don't read the last question. DON'T WORRY. If that's too confusing, just stay away from anything labeled: **SPOILER ALERT**.
In the event of an actual zombie invasion, who would you risk you life to save? Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin, Jesse Eisenberg, or Emma Stone? In other words, who do you like more?
I don't think Woody would need my help, I think he'd be alright on his own. I'd probably go after Abby. I couldn't let the 12 year old get eaten. Morally I would feel wrong about that. I'd probably have to help out the 12 year old. The rest of them can fend for themselves.
There were so many graphic deaths in Zombieland, like the seatbelt scene with the mom crashing out the window (which you mentioned was one of your favorites), Woody bashing a zombie's brains in with a bat
HOW DID YOU DO IT?
The seatbelt one was a composite where we did the car accident in one shot and the woman being ratcheted against the green screen and landing on her face on a pad. Then we composited her on the car accident and put in some CG glass and some CG beanie babies. As far as the baseball bat to the face, it's a pretty clever trick where you'd have like a half of a baseball bat, so Woody's holding (just) the handle. We used it for the toilet seat lid. Jesse just had half of (it). That way they can swing it that much closer to the person's head and then you extend the end of it with CG. It lets the actors hold onto something that's real.
You're first and foremost a music video director. Who are your favorite directors?
Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry are probably the most obvious go-to answers and I'm a huge fan of both their work. There's even an homage to one of Spike Jonze's videos in the opening credits sequence. There's a shot of a guy on fire running in slow motion that's kind of an homage (
) to his video "California" by Wax.
Did you have any influence in writing the vignettes in the opening credits sequence? Like the guy in the tuxedo shooting an AK47? It was so funny and specific.
A lot of it was thrown together at the (last) minute. Like for example the one you mentioned, the tuxedo one, that's the writer Rhett Reese (
) A lot of the people in that opening sequence are crew members who just wanted to be in the movie. I wanted Rhett to be in the movie and he really wanted to shoot an AK47.
Okay. Filmmaker question. In the intro, you're obviously using variable speed. How many frames per second were you shooting at to achieve that look?
It's 1000 frames per second. It's a camera called the Phantom.
Were Abigail and Emma really riding that skylift ride? If so, how many takes and did anybody puke?
Emma and Abigail were on that ride. I think it was called the Blastoff. I think at first they were really excited they got to film on an amusement park ride as part of their job but after the second or third day they quickly grew tired of it. It was also really late at night and freezing cold in February in Georgia.
Any on set injuries? Jesse Eisenberg accidentally hit Amber Heard in the head with the porcelain toilet top or anything?
No, but Emma did give one of the guys stitches. She's butting him in the face with her gun and one of the stunt guys ended up getting 6 or 8 stitches or something like that.
Now that you're a hot new director on the scene are you finding it easier to pick up women?
I've yet to really capitalize on that, but I think that's why anybody becomes a hot young director. Certainly not to make movies.
So you're saying this is all for the women?
I think that's why anybody does anything.
Is Emma Stone single? I'm 26, I'm a director
I think she's spoken for.
You have a Tumblr blog (www.RubenFleischer.com). A lot of people at CollegeHumor do, too. How'd you find out about it?
I think this guy Matt Rubin who's my go-to tech support staff. I had a blog I started in 2002. I used to do websites back in the 90s so I used to hand-code my news myself and it just got a little tedious. Matt recommended Tumblr's very easy and user-friendly way to update things quickly and easily.
Well you should follow me. It's JoshRuben.tumblr.com. Ruben spelled like Ruben Fleischer.
This is so weird, nobody has that as a last name!
Anyway, I've got like 1200 followers so if you do a post about how you're following me, I'll just reblog you and you'll probably get like, at least a thousand followers.
How many is the most followers you can have on Tumbr? Do you know?
I think Hurwitz probably has like 4000 followers. We all cross-compare how many followers we have as a way of showing each other up.
Measure your dicks.
Exactly. Measuring our dicks by our Tumblr followers. The longer the number
The shorter your dick.
So how cool is Bill Murray?
He's easily, hands-down, the coolest dude ever. I don't even know who can begin to compete with him. There's no one better. He was so cool to me as a first time director. I would go up to him to give him notes and he'd go, "What now, first time? Whattya got junior? Whattya got, squirt?" He was just playful and funny and just a good guy. (
) He was 100 percent game for pretty much anything we threw at him and he seemed to really enjoy the opportunity to poke a little fun at his image and just have fun, basically.
Awesome Ruben, thanks so much.