‘Zombieland’ screenwriter Rhett Reese talks Paxson’s shot, Suns fandom

Jul 17, 2018, 12:34 PM | Updated: 3:02 pm
Rhett Reese, left, and Chelsey Crisp arrive for the world premiere of "Life" at the ZACK Theatre du...
Rhett Reese, left, and Chelsey Crisp arrive for the world premiere of "Life" at the ZACK Theatre during the South by Southwest Film Festival on Saturday March 18, 2017, in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)
(Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP)

Screenwriter Rhett Reese lets his Phoenix Suns fandom fly.

Look at his social media feed, and it’s clear the man more well-known for his contributions to the creation of movies like “Deadpool” and “Zombieland” is deeply ingrained in NBA Twitter. It was pretty telling, too, that Reese has made multiple pilgrimages to Las Vegas for the NBA Summer League.

Joining the Bickley & Marotta show on Tuesday, he was fresh off a trip to see first overall pick Deandre Ayton play for the Summer Suns.

Reese joined 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station to discuss growing up in Arizona, what got him hooked on the Suns and why the “Zombieland” series, which this week announced a sequel that will release next year, didn’t take place in Arizona.

He also discussed actor Jesse Eisenberg’s guess as to whose fault it was that the Suns fell to the Chicago Bulls in the 1993 NBA Finals.

On how he became a Suns fan:

“I moved there in fifth grade from Prescott and before that Ohio, but I basically lived in Phoenix from fifth grade on, and my wife and I just bought a condo back in Phoenix. I’m back there a lot and we’ll hopefully be there a lot now watching more Suns.

“I think Truck Robinson was probably my guy early on. But if you want to talk about when I started to get really excited, it was when Tom Chambers arrived — that midnight deal, free agent deal for Tom Chambers. We had gotten Kevin Johnson and suddenly the team just turned.”

On Eisenberg meeting former Sun Dan Majerle on Bickley & Marotta this May and taking the blame for Phoenix’s NBA Finals loss:

“I’ve always blamed their loss in the Finals on my mother … she was sitting in the arena, on the court when John Paxson hit his shot, and she was the closest person in the arena to John Paxson when he hit his shot. And I’ve always said to her, ‘Look, you just had to take one for the city and the team. You should have run out onto the court and, you know, ankle-tackled John Paxson.

“They wouldn’t have known what to do. They’d have to run the play over again or something. She didn’t do it … I blame my own mother — and Jesse Eisenberg.”

On getting Arizona represented in the first “Zombieland” film:

“Originally, ‘Zombieland’ was set in Arizona and Jesse Eisenberg’s character was named Flagstaff ’cause that’s where he was from. The problem was we couldn’t shoot in Arizona. So we had to shoot in Atlanta because of their tax breaks, so we couldn’t get that Arizona look. We had to move the whole movie to the east, so Flagstaff became Columbus. But originally it was supposed to be in Arizona, too, which is a bummer.”


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