Exclusive: The Vacation Reboot Returns to Wally World

In preparation for South by Southwest, which begins next week, we had a chance to speak with the writers of the opening night film The Incredible Burt Wonderstone today. Actor John Francis Daley and his partner Jonathan Goldstein scripted the dueling magician comedy, and are making their directorial debut with the National Lampoon’s Vacation reboot, which they also wrote.

We’ll have the full interview with Daley and Goldstein for you later but here is the latest news on the new Vacation first. Ed Helms is cast as Rusty Griswold, who was played by a different actor in each of the four Chevy Chase movies. So which Rusty is Helms playing?

“I guess the first Rusty, Daley said. “Or his own Rusty. That’s the good answer for that.”

The original National Lampoon’s Vacation featured Clark Griswold (Chase) driving his family across the country to the fictional amusement park Wally World. So much hilarity ensued that the Griswolds ultimately went to Europe, Vegas and stayed home for Christmas. Daley and Goldstein confirmed they are taking the new Griswolds back to Wally World.

National Lampoon's Vacation

“It’s another road trip back to Wally World, Daley said. “He realized that his original trip to Wally World brought the family, the Griswold family, closer together and he kind of chose to forget about the horrible moments along the way and decides that what his family needs is some bonding time and wants to take them back on the road again. Safe to say the road to Wally World has not gotten any easier.”

Going back to the destination of the original Vacation is both reassuring, and risky. The writers felt there was new ground to be mined from returning to Wally World. “I think it was always part of our intention,Goldstein said. “We felt like in continuing a franchise like this, there’s a certain amount of homage you have to pay to the original but we also wanted to make this very much its own movie that can stand on its own. So we chose our favorite elements from the original and then used that as a springboard. I think people have an affection for the whole Wally World component of the story.”

Rusty’s family vacation couldn’t play the same beats if it wanted to, because Daley and Goldstein changed his family dynamic. “As opposed to going along with the same family structure as the first one with a brother and sister, now Rusty and his wife Debbie have two boys with their own very unique dynamic,Daley said.

Fred Topel is a staff writer at CraveOnline and the man behind Shelf Space Weekly. Follow him on Twitter at @FredTopel.