World War Z Movie Still Lumbering Along, Says Writer


One project worth following is the adaptation of Max Brooks’ fantastic novel World War Z, which has been underway at Paramount for quite some time. The book has long been heralded (by yours truly) as the zombie book to end all zombie books, and in my mind it would make quite possibly the coolest 12-part miniseries in the history of cable television. That said, Paramount is still trying to make the dang thing into a feature film. A mistake on many levels, yes. But still potentially chock full of awesome.

Last week, Collider caught up with J. Michael Straczynski, the writer assigned to the project, as he was promoting his latest work, Ninja Assassin — the final product of which does not give us any hope for the future of man, let along the future of Straczynski’s work. During the interview, they talked briefly about where World War Z is — about 5 drafts in — and how he went about tackling the book’s first-person narrative, a driving force behind the book’s unique approach to the post-apocalyptic zombie genre.

The interview snippet is below:

JMS: Yes, I wrote five drafts.

Q: Is it close to getting done?

JMS: One never knows. The director is attached to it and Paramount really wants to see it done because they have a lot of money invested in this thing. They think it could be a really big film for them.

Q: How did you adapt the first person narrative?

JMS: A series of interviews, so I basically said, “Well, who did those interviews?” And you tell the story of the guy who works for the UN going around the planet interviewing folks to see what happened to them and report on what happened. Through his eyes, you see flashbacks of those storylines.

Q: Zombies are big now.

JMS: Well, they have good agent.

The director to which he’s referring is Quantum of Solace director Marc Forster, who signed onto the project back in November of 2008. The long-gestating nature of the project is likely due to the complexity of the book, which is set in the aftermath of a great world-wide zombie breakout. It is told through they eyes of a former government analyst conducting interviews with survivors of the war, piecing together the epic story of humanity’s survival. Never before have I read a book such as this that takes into account such a complex mix of sociopolitical themes, as well as keeping it moving with great stories of zombie killing. What Max Brooks did with WWZ is truly remarkable, and anything less than a perfect movie would be a crime. That said, I’m not in a hurry to see what the writer of Changeling and Ninja Assassin does with the material. So please Paramount, take your time.

Above image: World War Z “Battle of Yonkers” concept art by Dan Luvisis, courtesy of io9.

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

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