The 2000s brought with it not just the dawn of a new century and millennium. It also breathed new life into the zombie genre, and with the help of 2002’s 28 Days Later, it reinvigorated the “infected” subgenre, which arguably began with George A. Romero’s The Crazies. While 28 Days Later took the world by storm, its sequel 28 Weeks Later didn’t get quite the same fanfare.
Granted, there was a 5 year gap between movies, and by the time 2007 rolled around, the zombie resurgence was in full swing. But in honor of its 15th anniversary today, we wanted to take a look back at 28 Weeks Later and honor it with 15 fun facts!
1. Following the massive international success of 28 Days Later, a sequel was quickly greenlit. Originally Danny Boyle was intended to return to direct, however by 2005 he was busy in pre-production with his sci-fi epic Sunshine. At that point, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo stepped in as co-writer/director and 28 Weeks Later became a co-production between the UK and Spain.
2. The original movie’s leads Cillian Murphy and Naomie Harris were also busy with other projects, so it was decided to scrap any story that involved Jim and Selena and feature a cast of entirely new characters.
3. Other early story ideas included an SAS team being sent in to evacuate the Queen from England.
4. Robert Carlyle (Don) had previously been offered the role of Major Henry West in 28 Days Later, but had to decline due to scheduling conflicts (the role eventually went to Chris Eccleston).
5. Danny Boyle was still very involved as a producer, and even directed the film’s opening sequence at the farmhouse, as well as several second unit shots.
6. Despite playing American servicemembers, both Idris Elba (British) and Rose Byrne (Australian) were speaking with incredibly convincing fake American accents for their roles.
7. One of the requirements to be an extra playing the infected was a background in some sort of physical movement field (dance, ballet, miming, etc.).
8. Jeremy Renner’s character was named “Doyle” as an homage to Danny Boyle who directed 28 Days Later.
9. In the original script, it was Scarlet (Rose Byrne) who was burned and Doyle (Jeremy Renner) who was beaten to death by Don. However, it was decided that it felt more vulnerable for the children to be left with Scarlet rather than Doyle at the end. So their death scenes were swapped.
10. The helicopter scene in Wembley Stadium had to be shot in Millenium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales because at the time of production, the interiors of Wembley were being renovated.
11. The final scene set in Paris was a very last minute inclusion to the final movie. With a crew of only three people, 12 local extras, and 1 camera, they shot the scene guerilla style outside the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
12. Initially there were plans for a third film tentatively titled 28 Months Later. Danny Boyle was at the very least going to produce and early rumors stated that it would be set in Russia. And while Danny Boyle has never officially said it’s not happening, given the 15 years since 28 Weeks Later, it’s unlikely we will see it at this point.
13. Composer John Murphy reportedly only had two weeks to compose the movie’s score.
14. Three major cast members would all go on to appear in Marvel movies in the next few years that followed: Rose Byrne as Moira McTaggart in the X-Men series, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye in the MCU, and Idris Elba as Heimdall in the MCU.
15. Grossed roughly $65 million on a $15 million, which is still a solid box office, even though it failed to perform as well as 28 Days Later (which grossed $85 million on an $8 million budget).
Which of these did you already know? Which ones surprised you? Do you prefer 28 Days or Weeks Later? Let us know in the comments!