Signing off for now---I had a great time - thanks people of Reddit!

Here is proof!:



GANGSTER SQUAD: Trailer: Official Site: Facebook:

Comments: 1069 • Responses: 54  • Date: 

TheInocence1362 karma

How many upvotes do we have to give you in order to see a Zombieland sequel?

iamrubenfleischer1502 karma

Let's do it! Glad to hear so many people want to see it. It would be so fun to get to go back to Zombieland and make a sequel!

lostrock57 karma

Would it be telling too much if you shared what sort of direction you'd want to take in a sequel?

At the very least, I'd like to know if you're interested in working with the same characters/actors or bringing in some new people.

iamrubenfleischer202 karma

When we were talking about it, we definitely wanted to reteam our original cast, but also got excited about the opportunity to introduce some new characters into the world. Both human and zombie.

krp31489424 karma

I’d like to ask you about your justification for removing the theatre shooting scene in Gangster Squad. Did you actually feel it was appropriate or necessary to remove that scene given what happened a few months ago, or did the studio force your hand? If you did feel it was necessary I’d like to know why. I understand that people would be sensitive given what happened, but if you remove one scene involving violent content because something similar happened in real life it could be justified that all the violent content in your film should be removed because violent crime happens all the time in Los Angeles, and all over the country. I’m just wondering why a scene of people being shot in a theatre is any different than a scene of people being shot on the street, both happen, and the latter much more often.

iamrubenfleischer485 karma

Fair question - I definitely supported that scene being reshot. It was the appropriate thing to do out of respect for the families that suffered that great tragedy. Our scene was very eerily similar to what happened in Aurora. And I hear you about replacing violence with violence, but hopefully the new scene will not making anyone uncomfortable watching the movie, which I am sure the old scene would have. The new scene, which takes place in Chinatown is seamless with the rest of the movie, and is actually more suspenseful than the original theater scene. It works really well and is really visual, and I love that it is set in Chinatown because of the obvious associations. I'll be excited to hear what you think of it.

ryder7729 karma

I believe I also recall reading that the theater shooting (not the Batman one) is actually part of the story Gangster Squad is based on. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

iamrubenfleischer65 karma

That scene, like many of the action scenes in the movie, is a work of fiction. We definitely used the real people and places as a starting point for a Hollywood action movie. As far as I am aware that never happened in real life, as is the case with pretty much all of the action scenes in the movie.

Brocktoberfest333 karma

Did you tell Bill Murray what to do? Or did he tell you what to do?

iamrubenfleischer661 karma

I guess you could say there was a give and take. We had some things scripted, but we also were excited to just let him play. The movie is full of improvisation, and many of Bill's lines he came up with on the spot, including the amazing "Garfield" line.

shutupcrime_please260 karma

Hey, Ruben. No offense meant, but how exactly did you land yourself the title as director for Zombieland, a big budget Hollywood flick, even though you hadn't much experience (according to your IMDB, at least) with directing before it? There must've been a lot of competition to get the job, and how did you come out on top? Also, is there any hope for a Zombieland sequel?

iamrubenfleischer434 karma

It's tough to get your first film. It took me eight years of directing music videos, short films, reality TV, and commercials. Luckily I had built up enough of a reel to be considered for a feature, and I think it was the sensibility expressed in my work combined with my take on the script that allowed me to get a shot. It was a big dice roll for Sony, choosing an unexperienced first timer, but I'm lucky for the opportunity and very very grateful.

As for a sequel, the best I can offer, is I would love to see it, but there are no immediate plans to make one.

Ali921225 karma

Ruben Fleischer, you suck - Rather than just downloading it.

iamrubenfleischer252 karma

Yep, now you have to go see it in theaters. Let me know what you think of it after!

SadPeenut217 karma

What was Ryan Gosling like?

iamrubenfleischer456 karma

He's as funny and charming and nice as you would hope. Really a true gentleman and a good guy. Everyone loves Ryan. He's a good dude.

aprilchelseaanne215 karma

No questions. Just love your shit.

iamrubenfleischer616 karma

Thanks so much! I love your shit. Literally.

rntnicky33210 karma

Why name it Gangster Squad? The movie looks great, but that name sounds kinda cheesy.

iamrubenfleischer541 karma

It was the real name of the squad at the time. We didn't make it up. It was what they were called.

theshatz207 karma

As an expert from your work on Zombieland, what's your opinion of the Hostess/Twinkie situation?

iamrubenfleischer417 karma

It's a national tragedy. I'm so glad that we were able to celebrate the great Twinkie before its time had come.

G-manP188 karma

I have heard that Woody Harrelson is a strict vegan, so how did you get him to eat that twinkie and look like he was enjoying it?!

iamrubenfleischer529 karma

We had to make Vegan Twinkies that resembled real twinkies. Movie magic!!!

FuckBadWords179 karma

Yes or no?

iamrubenfleischer245 karma


immortalsteve177 karma

Is Emma Stone as awesome/hot as everybody says or is it just an elaborate ruse?

iamrubenfleischer274 karma

Yes. Absolutely.

Frajer177 karma

Hi, why didn't Wichita and Little Rock have the same name? They were from the same city right?

iamrubenfleischer394 karma

Great question.... I think the obvious answer is that it would have been really confusing for the audience if they had the same name, so we decided that they're parents moved around a lot, and that their names are where they were born more than where they lived at the time of the Apocalypse.

avisetia146 karma

please can you say hi to Emma stone for me. I love her :). And so do many here in India.

iamrubenfleischer164 karma

I will be sure to.

Spladam140 karma

Are there actually a set of "rules for surviving a zombie outbreak" out there?

iamrubenfleischer298 karma

Yes, we came up with a ton more than are actually included in the movie, but I think we have to save them in case we ever actually make the sequel!

KoNy_BoLoGnA139 karma

Was the Twinkie thing from Zombieland a marketing a ploy? Or did you just feel like that would add to story? It really was an awesome subplot, if you ask me...

iamrubenfleischer301 karma

It was definitely not a marketing ploy as we got no money from the Hostess corporation. We just thought it was a funny idea.

Jampride65122 karma

Who would win in an anchorman style fight? The Gangster Squad, Zombieland Crew(including zombie Bill Murray), or 30 minutes or less crew?

iamrubenfleischer237 karma

While the Gangster Squad is full of the toughest guys on the planet, I'm surprised I'm going to answer the Zombieland crew simply because Tallahasee is not someone to F with. I feel like if he can take down an army of zombies, he can handle anything. Great question!

lostrock100 karma

Which actor(s) would you like to work with next?

iamrubenfleischer264 karma

It's tough to top some of the actors I've worked with so far - I mean only three films, and I've worked with some of the best: Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, Bill Fucking Murray!!! Abigail Breslin, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson, Michael Pena, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Robert Patrick, Mireille Enos, Nick Nolte...

I'm incredibly lucky as a director. These are some of the all time greats. As for down the road, I'm a big fan of Tom Hanks and Johnny Depp, but we shall see how it all plays out!

Objuden100 karma

The Zombie genre really has exploded during the last 10 years or so. So what's next? Which mythical creature or monster are going the be the next big thing?

iamrubenfleischer389 karma

I think Unicorns are ready for their day in the sun. Who doesn't love unicorns???

Ali92198 karma

How was it working with Zach on Between Two Ferns?

iamrubenfleischer186 karma

Zach is hands down the funniest and most original guy. I've been a fan of his since seeing him perform stand up in 1998 and my first TV directing job was on his short lived VH1 talk show Late World With Zach on VH1. I'm so glad that he is getting the recognition he so deserves. He is so so funny.

icameforthecookies88 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! What projects are you expecting to put out in the near future?

Can we have a Zombie land 2 with Gary Busey?

iamrubenfleischer257 karma

Gary Busey does not need Zombieland 2 to be resurrected from the dead.

Spladam82 karma

Why has Zombieland not had a sequel or a series, I read that it was going to be a television series at first. I would love to see more rule’s!

iamrubenfleischer131 karma

Originally we couldn't agree on a script for a sequel, so it got held up, but now I think trying to schedule Jesse, Woody and Emma would be pretty tough even if we had one. I heard a rumor they were trying to take it back to TV (which it was originally conceived to be a TV show, but I am not aware of the status of the project, nor am I involved with it.

phillyboy800878 karma


iamrubenfleischer107 karma

Ah, a Flaxman on reddit! How awesome. Your aunt is the best!

The toughest part is the pressure. It comes from all sides - the budget, the actors, the studio, the clock - it never stops. But you just got to do your best. This is the job i signed up for, and it comes with the territory.

Neeeababbilaaay77 karma

Hi Mr. Fleischer. I wanted to ask what it was like getting an actor like Bill Murray to appear in your first feature Zombieland, even if it was just for an albeit brief cameo.

iamrubenfleischer185 karma

It was beyond a dream come true. Bill Murray is one of the all time greats. It was very last minute that he signed up though. We were only a week away from shooting that scene and we had another celebrity who was signed up to play the part and that person dropped out, so Woody called Bill Murray and got him to step in and it was seriously one of the greatest days of my life.

imbecile67 karma

What aspect of the human condition do you think is historically and currently woefully underrepresented or misrepresented in movies and that you would like to explore? Or is that more a question for actors or writers?

iamrubenfleischer130 karma

For me personally, as a non-writing director, I am reliant on talented writers who are delving into the depths of life. However, I see myself as someone focused on making more comedic and action filled movies, rather than soul searching. Maybe I will get there some day, but for now, I really enjoy trying to make movies that are as fun and entertaining as I can. Going to the movies have always been an escape for me, and I don't think that is a bad thing.

PumperFark53 karma

How did you like Grand Rapids, MI? Everyone I know was stoked when they found out 30 Minutes or Less was shot here. (I live in GR)

iamrubenfleischer58 karma

It's awesome. I miss Marie Catribe's.

MonkeyWithMachete51 karma

Is Nick Nolte a cyborg?

iamrubenfleischer83 karma

Not to the best of my knowledge, but I can not say for 100% certain. He is amazing. One of the nicest and most caring dudes you could hope to meet.

NoShirtNoShoesNoDice49 karma

While on the set of Zombieland, did Woody ever say he'd be doing a movie called Rampart? Rampart... Rampart.

iamrubenfleischer57 karma

We didn't overlap with Rampart, but he did follow up Zland with The Messenger directed by the same fellow as Rampart, and I love both movies. Woody is the best!

pattycigs43 karma

I can't quite put my finger on it, but something about Sean Penn's face in the trailers seems... off? Was there CGI/Makeup/Prosthetics done, or am I just losing it? And if so, what was the force that drove that decision?

iamrubenfleischer88 karma

Yes, he wears prosthetics that make him look like a boxer who went one too many rounds. Scar tissue on his brow and a broken nose.

thatldopig39 karma

What goes behind the creative decisions on how to use CG blood. I am thinking of your movie and The Walking Dead when I ask this versus, say, The Cabin in the Woods. Is it completely a financial decision? I guess a more generic question is if Zombieland had a bigger budget, what would you have done differently?

iamrubenfleischer86 karma

I like CG blood. There is no messy clean up and you can do take after take. We used it exclusively on Gangster Squad, and I think it looks awesome. There is one head shot in particular (of a guy coming out of an elevator (you'll know which one I mean when you see the movie)) that I think looks better than any squib ever. I'd be surprised if anyone ever guessed there was no practical component to that shot at all.

emmy14138 karma

I loved Zombieland, really hoping there ends up being a sequel at some point! What was it like working with Emma again for Gangster Squad?

iamrubenfleischer106 karma

Emma is the best. She is so fun and so funny and so talented. I think you'll be really glad to see her in a different way in this movie. She shines bright like a diamond.

Jaystar1328 karma

When will Hollywood stop rehashing old tv shows/movies and start tapping into the vast array of ideas from writers on the internet?

iamrubenfleischer53 karma

Hollywood is always looking for fresh ideas. I think there are more than a few shorts that were made online that have been turned into features. I know that Beasts Of The Southern Wild, one of the most original movies in years started out as a short. In fact, I got my start by making shorts and music videos which I would post on my website (on the internet) and it was through that that I got noticed by Hollywood. So, I guess all I can say is keep making cool stuff and it will eventually get noticed.

somespecialist27 karma

Hey, Ruben. Longtime fan of your work, especially your music videos for Electric Six and DJ Format. Which music video stands out, in your mind, as the most fun to make?

iamrubenfleischer55 karma

They were all so fun! I love making music videos. It's really the best format of all. But I have to say my very first one for Gold Chains, "I Come From SF" was perhaps the funnest, A) because it was my very first video B) because I made it with a bunch of friends and C) because we shot it guerilla style on the SF BART Train and just had a crazy dance party in a subway. it was so much fun.

Check it out here:

DeftLip27 karma

Hey Ruben, what's the next movie you will be directing?

iamrubenfleischer70 karma

Well, the one I just finished is Gangster Squad, which comes out tomorrow (sneak peaks at select theaters tonight). It's a fun, action filled, gangster movie starring Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone. After that, I got nothing lined up, but eager to find the next thing!

bobdebicker48 karma

Question: Does Ryan Gosling take off his shirt?

iamrubenfleischer132 karma

He is shirtless in bed.

scigs624 karma

If offered the job would you direct the next Star Wars?

iamrubenfleischer64 karma

In a heart beat.

salsadance23 karma

What was it like working with such amazing actors as Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, etc?. Were you ever intimidated?

iamrubenfleischer53 karma

Yes, I didn't get much sleep the night before my first day of directing Sean Penn, but it turns out he is incredibly collaborative, and I was very lucky to work with him. Josh and Ryan were awesome. They have a great buddy chemistry in this movie, but it doesn't quite rival the chemistry between Ryan & Emma who are amazing together. In the end, I'm just really lucky to have had the opportunity to work with some of these incredibly talented people.

CameronBBigelow23 karma

Ruben, I am an actor in the Orlando, FL area. Just wondering, personally, how did you and your actors fight to balance the fiction in Gangster Squad with the reality of the Characters? Did it limit your creativity and how organic your actors could be?

iamrubenfleischer32 karma

No, we really took a lot of liberties with the truth, and used the real characters as a launch pad for a modern action movie set in the 40's. I think Sean especially was very creative in his interpretation of Mickey Cohen which uses some aspects of the real guy but also has a lot of of original flourishes.

iaaft21 karma

Do you have any great anecdotes about the filming of Zombieland which you've never told before ?

iamrubenfleischer84 karma

At this point, I don't know what I've told or not, but the real joy was just having Jesse, Emma, Abby, and Woody all together on set every day. They are all so fun and such funny people, that I think so much of that is what the film is infused with. They really came together as a family off camera and that conveys on screen. One of the best examples of this is the montage driving scene where they are all switching places in the car. I just had them all improvise stuff, for example Abby telling Woody about Hannah Montana - that was all real. I think in the end I had about fifteen minutes of unused footage of Abby telling everyone how great Hannah Montana is, and all the ins and outs of the plot. Pretty funny stuff.

dablainester20 karma

How much of 30 Minutes or Less was improvised and how much of it was scripted?

Some of the stuff that goes on in that movie is crazy, such as (but not limited to) Nick Swardson doing "his kicks", and the back and forth between Nick and Danny, as well as Aziz and Jesse.

I'm excited to see Gangster Squad! Keep on being totally kick-ass and awesome and keep the great movies coming!

iamrubenfleischer30 karma

So much improvisation. If you check out the DVD we did a collection of the actors coming up with different lines for each line that actually made it in. It's pretty cool to see how they arrive at the jokes. Lots and lots of improv.

luksifox18 karma

How do you cope with bad reviews and how does it feel to get that yellow colored score on Metacritic instead of a green one? :)

As a filmmaker myself I always wonder how it would feel like. Would I smash on the table with my fist and say "damn it!" or would I go "oh well." and start working on my next project.

iamrubenfleischer50 karma

I got to tell you I like getting good reviews way better than bad ones, but I try not to pay attention. I know how much audiences love Gangster Squad, so I am not too worried about it. It's a really fun crowd pleasing movie. And someone recently sent me a link to all these reviews of classic movies getting panned like Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia, and Empire Strikes Back, and that was comforting.

MrRoyalScotsman17 karma

Hey Ruben, thanks for the AMA!

Which contemporary directors do you look at for inspiration? Which filmmakers, today, stand out to you?

iamrubenfleischer37 karma

There are so many directors I love. To name just a few in no particular order... the Coen Brothers, Tarantino, Nolan, Fincher, Bigelow, Scorcese, Ang Lee, Spielberg... There are too many to name.

debzkidcudi17 karma

Was shooting a movie in the 40's/50's difficult in the sense that you had to remember which things existed then? Like inventions and things in the background.

iamrubenfleischer20 karma

Yeah but we did a ton of research of photos and movies of the time to make it look as accurate as possible.

budnick2215 karma

I hear there is a movie that you were attached to before Zombieland called Psycho Funky Chimp. Can you tell us a little about that project and when you are going to make it!?!

iamrubenfleischer20 karma

Thanks budnick22, great question! That was a hilarious script developed by an incredibly talented young producer at the then Todd Phillips company. To this day still one of my favorite scripts, and I hope it finds its way to the big screen in the near future.

boredlike14 karma

What was the inspiration for Zombieland?

iamrubenfleischer30 karma

I think we all live in fear of a zombie apocalypse happening any day now, so I'm sure the writers lived out that fantasy.

babyrhino_plz14 karma


iamrubenfleischer19 karma

Jesse is the sweetest, most hard working, talented guy. I am a huge fan and would be lucky to work with him again.

thekidwiththefa8 karma

Hey Ruben, really looking forward to Gangster Squad. My question is about a quote that Tarantino said a few years back, claiming that directors who adapt other writers' material tend to lack a consistent "voice" in their work compared to directors who write their own movies. As a non-writing director yourself, how do you feel about his words?

Here are his exact words for reference:

iamrubenfleischer26 karma

I think that writer/directors definitely have a consistent voice, and Tarantino is one of the all time greatest, so it's easy for him to say. However, as I don't write, I look up to people like Spielberg, Scorcese, and Ang Lee who don't necessarily write all of their movies but are instrumental in shaping the story.

Believe me, if I could write as well as Tarantino, I would be doing it.

travass8 karma

As a film director, any thoughts or opinions on today's Oscar nominations? In your opinion were there any films or actors that were left off the list that should have been nominated? Or do you think they got it right?

iamrubenfleischer18 karma

I was surprised Bigelow, Affleck and Nolan got left out. That being said, I'm psyched for all those who did get nominated.

carebearofdoom7 karma

How do you feel about the refilming of Gangster Squad that took place after the Aurora shooting? Do you feel that it was necessary? Do you feel like it took away from the movie?

iamrubenfleischer15 karma

I think it was definitely the right thing to do and I am proud of our decision. Was great the whole cast came back for it even though it was about nine months after filming had concluded. The new scene, set in Chinatown, is surprisingly even better than the original.

hippocamper7 karma

Are there any other gangster genre movies/shows that you drew influence from while directing Gangster Squad? As someone who has always loved crime movies and a recent Boardwalk Empire addict, I'm curious to see what direction the film takes.

iamrubenfleischer14 karma

Definitely! Whether it was old classics like White Heat or Gun Crazy to more modern movies like Miller's Crossing, The Untouchables, Goodfellas or LA Confidential, we were influenced by so many!

Phonix905 karma

i have a off the subject/on the subject question, say you download a film you don't like it so you don't buy it. or you like it so you buy it. whats your view on this matter? do you agree or disagree that piracy should be a little more lenient. btw love your films :)

iamrubenfleischer24 karma

I don't illegally download movies and would prefer that people don't. I get why people do, but I don't know that it makes it right.

Mchevy4224 karma

Hello Ruben. Thank you for taking the time to do this AMA. I'm a big fan of your previous movies and I am certainly looking forward to Gangster Squad. It looks like it's going to be a great film with a very talented cast.. What was your most memorable moment while filming Gangster Squad?

iamrubenfleischer12 karma

I got to say there is a really fun shot which takes place back stage with the whole Gangster Squad where they knock out a guard and get ready to storm Mickey's operation. It's all shot in one take, so the choreography of the action is a bit tricky, but it's really fun when it all works. All the actors worked really hard together to get the shot in one (and it was shot at like 4 in the morning) so it was really satisfying when we got it.