It may have been 10 years since the original release, but a Zombieland sequel was always on the cards. For it was simply a case of "when" and not "if", its stars tell Gemma Dunn.

No one could have predicted the cult following that would transpire when Zombieland was released.

The 2009 sleeper hit offered up a new genre - namely a blend of post-apocalyptic horror and comedy that not only saw the 'zomedy' coin termed, but also paved the way for a new era of zombie-led pop culture.

Take the arrival of The Walking Dead (now in its 10th season) just one year later, for example - arguably proof that zombies could be both mainstream and commercially successful in the eyes of Hollywood.

A decade on and the public interest in flesh-eating corpses is yet to subside, hence the excitement when fans learned of Ruben Fleischer's anticipated sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap.

Re-joining forces with original writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the American filmmaker has reunited the film's four original stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin.

But why has it taken to so long to serve up a second helping?

"The challenge was getting a script worthy of making a second movie," explains Fleischer, who says it was imperative that the original line-up approved.

"Their feeling was the first movie was so beloved, we can't enter into this unless we have one that's at least as good, if not better, than the original."

Reese agrees: "We had to wink a little bit at the success of the genre, because we feel like we did reinvigorate the genre in 2009.

"So, when we revisited it, it was more a question of, 'How do we find an original story and also justify why we had been away for 10 years in the mind of the audience?'"

"It's a mix of comedy and action. drama and romance," adds Wernick, who, along with Reese, has been inundated with projects since the original, including the triumphant Deadpool franchise.

"The tone's a delicate dance, especially on this one," he insists. "The zombie genre has evolved, and so we're just trying to catch people up with the times."

For the actors, it was a case of waiting for the magic to happen.

"There were probably 10 scripts over the last 10 years, but it never felt worthy of making a sequel," recalls Eisenberg, 36. "Finally, the script was just so great, like it would be a fantastic standalone movie even if it wasn't associated with the first one."

"They made it so special, and I think that's the reason we all wanted to come back," reasons Stone, 30.

Harrelson, 58, who was the most discerning about the sequel script, concurs: "They hit a home run. They're just incredible writers and they finally cracked it."

"People always ask me: What movie was the most fun for you to make? And I think the first Zombieland was in the top three of the funniest movies I ever made," admits The Highwaymen actor.

"Ruben, our fearless leader, is such an amazing director and really open to everybody trying new things. And then the cast... It's one of those things [where] it's hard to be in a bad mood!

"If you came to set in a bad mood it's just gonna flip eventually because everybody is so funny and so cool," he muses. "It's like going to work at a playground."

Billed to once again straddle the line between terrifying and hilarious, this chapter sees the comic mayhem stretch from the White House through to the heartland, where the slayers must face off against the many new kinds of zombies that have evolved since the first film, as well as human survivors.

Whereas the first film centred on the core four loners - Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock, played by Harrelson, Eisenberg, Stone and Breslin, respectively - on a road trip through the zombie apocalypse that ultimately become a makeshift family, the second focuses on keeping that family together.

"It's just such a fun dynamic. The random luck of us being nice, normal, funny people makes it work so well," says Eisenberg, whose credits include The Social Network and The Art of Self-Defence.

"You can put us in any kind of context, and it will always be interesting and entertaining because the interactions we have are endlessly workable."

"Yeah I mean, it was fun right away," chimes Harrelson.

"It's not like we haven't seen each other in 10 years - although I haven't seen Abigail in 10 years," he says, fessing he initially didn't recognise the now-23-year-old.

"But we gelled, and we started making some pretty good stuff right away."

Were there ever any reservations?

"Yeah of course," answers Eisenberg. "The movie had to be popular to the movie company that would make it, but the actors are coming at it from the opposite place: They want to do it if it's good because you don't want to be in something bad, obviously.

"And with this, it felt particularly important, because the movie is not just very popular, it's also beloved," notes the New Yorker. "For people, it's their favourite movie.

"Whenever you're in a movie, you work on the same effort level. It's just random luck or the thing coming together well, right?"

"Well it was one of those things, because I had that script - for the first movie - just sitting at the bottom of a pile of scripts," Harrelson remembers. "I just wasn't getting to it and my agent kept bothering me and I was like, 'Zombies, has it come to this?'

"But then I read it and it's like 'Wow!' But still, at the time there wasn't a big zombie craze like there is now - but when we were doing it, I thought, 'You know this thing could be good!'"

Next Texas native Harrelson will star opposite Mandy Moore in Midway, an action epic by Roland Emmerich that retells the famed Battle of Midway, a turning point in the Pacific, during World War II.

Eisenberg, meanwhile, will return to the screen for Resistance, in which he plays the French mime Marcel Marceau in the incredible true story of his time in the French Resistance.

Would the pair return for a third slice of zombie action?

"I would do another one if it's good; it's the funniest experience to work with these guys," Harrelson responds.

"You're the best!" finishes Eisenberg. And that says it all.

Zombieland: Double Tap is in cinemas now.