Max Brooks

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Globally, World War Z made over $535M dollars this summer. For a movie that cost in the neighborhood of $200M, that’s not a bad haul, especially when you take into account the bad buzz leading up to the film’s release. General moviegoers probably couldn’t have cared less about the third act of a film being reshot, but for most movie nerds, it’s a knee-jerk warning sign. A movie that requires reshoots always draws negative attention despite presenting an opportunity to get some pickup shots, a scene to add some clarity, or in the case of World War Z, a whole new act. Even in the age of special features, we’ll probably never get to see the original ending that the reshoots made irrelevant. At the end of the day, the bad-buzz-creating gamble paid off with this well-liked zombie hit. Speaking with the film’s director Marc Forster it was obvious how happy he was to see World War Z not get chewed up at the box office like some foresaw.

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KenBurnsWorldWarZ

World War Z is not a very faithful adaptation. By placing it during the war, director Marc Forster and star Brad Pitt have fundamentally altered Max Brooks‘ after-the-fact oral history. Which is understandable. They wanted a big-budget, globe-spanning adventure, and that’s hard to squeeze out of a guy traveling the world calmly speaking with survivors. The movie is out this weekend (Rob’s review), and we couldn’t help but wonder what it would have looked like if it were a little more faithful to the book. So we turned to our old pal Sleepy Skunk to make a video that imagines what Ken Burns‘ version of World War Z would have been like. For all of you aching for a zombie documentary, here’s a small piece of alternate history.

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Zombies

After years of chatter, delays, and just plain trouble, the big screen version of Max Brooks’ game-changing zombie oral history, in the guise of director Marc Forster’s extremely changed and chopped up World War Z, finally hits theaters this Friday. While the production’s apparently awful journey to a theater near you (complete with enough script changes to make anyone consider letting a zombie eat their brains, just so you no longer have to attempt to keep track of who wrote what and when and maybe even how and one of Hollywood’s biggest reshoots ever) is finally over, it still remains to be seen if the world is ready for a big blockbuster (read: wildly expensive) zombie movie starring Brad Pitt. While the final product is certainly entertaining (and generally in a positive way), Forster’s film is still just a zombie movie, which is why the coolest thing about the film (really) is the fact that it busts out “the z-word” within its first hour, scoffs at it a bit, and then just runs with it. In World War Z, the world is screwed, Pitt plays a guy trying to stop an outbreak that’s based on a guy who reported on said outbreak ten years later (sorry, source material), but at least zombies are “zombies.” It’s about time.

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World War Z

Trick question. There are no zombies in this new poster for World War Z. Sure, there are probably plenty lighting the world on fire just below Brad Pitt‘s iron stare, and perhaps there are even a few in those swirling helicopters, but for a film that is about a zombie invasion, this poster sure as shooting doesn’t seem interested in presenting even one brain-chomper. Draw your own conclusions. World War Z opens on June 21st. [Paramount]

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World War Z Poster

This isn’t the World War Z that we thought we were going to get. Fans of Max Brooks‘ contemplative book that chronicles the zombie apocalypse by soberly speaking with important survivors expected something from director Marc Forster that would look a bit more, well, like that book. This new trailer for the film is a zombie-covered ray of hope, though. Not that it’ll be close to the source material; that it’ll be a good movie regardless. It shows an awful lot of Brad Pitt looking pensive, but it also shows the human cost beyond the ant-like hordes that cover and devour all in their path. The vision of them taking down a helicopter isn’t frightening, but the thought of them trampling you, chewing your face off and welcoming you into their legion within a matter of seconds is pretty damn terrifying. If it feels familiar, it’s because this new look at the film feels a lot like the marketing for Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion. Which makes sense. What are zombies anyway if not human-sized viruses? Check out the trailer for yourself:

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World War Z certainly had a bumpy production trip to the big screen. The movie got pushed back six months, had a troubled shoot, and an ending which needed assistance from man who isn’t exactly well-regarded for his endings. Based on this first trailer for the film, some of the more creative troubles are on display. Word was Marc Forster was unsure of what type of zombies he wanted, and the kind he went with go against the gritty, grounded style he’s clearly aiming for. Whenever a horde of CG zombies appear in this trailer, Forster’s “serious” approach falls flat. Nothing can take someone out of a movie more than an all-CG character, but there looks to be plenty of cartoon zombies running amok in World War Z. Check out Brad Pitt running, staring off, and shouting a lot in the full-length trailer for World War Z:

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What’s most bizarre about Marc Forster‘s Brad Pitt-starring adaptation of Max Brooks‘ novel “World War Z” is not all the bad mojo swirling around the film’s production – including a release date shove and weeks of reshoots with “help” from Damon Lindelof – it’s the fact that a book that looks back on a devastating zombie apocalypse appears to be a film that tracks such a breakout as it’s occurring. Which is probably one of the reasons that the beleaguered production of World War Z is now apparently in need of a new ending for the film. Here’s your ending, guys – the zombies win (and Cuba becomes a super power power and everyone in North Korea is gone and most people are, you know, dead). Not so hard, right? Tell that to Paramount. According to Deadline Copenhagen, while Lindelof “cracked a potential new ending of the film” (we can only assume it included not tying up a bunch of narrative threads and forcing the characters to make a a series of increasingly stupid decisions), it was actually Drew Goddard who did most of the actual new writing (thank heaven for small favors). However, even the involvement of Goddard isn’t enough to get this thing copacetic, because the outlet also reports that the project might need yet another writer to sew it up.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a hunter of the best stories of the day. Most days. Pretty much every week. It works 24/7 to give you one article per night. Because sleep is for the week. And whatnot. We begin this evening with a new image from Breaking Bad and its upcoming season five premiere, a shot of a particular character who is likely to be the most interesting story. At least, early on in the season. How will everyone’s favorite henchman Mike (Jonathan Banks) react to the events that concluded season four? This new image gives us a bit of a preview.

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Boiling Point

There are a lot of good things that can be said about Hollywood. It creates tons of jobs, pumps out entertaining movies, makes art widely accessible and helps balance your LDL-HDL cholesterol panel, I’m pretty sure. There is also a ton of bad shit to be said about Hollywood, or else this column couldn’t even exist. Hollywood is many things, but it’s nothing if not extravagantly wasteful. Whether you want to talk about David Fincher’s obsession over every single detail in his movies (details = dollars) or the fact that Jack and Jill cost $79 million to make, probably because Adam Sandler had to be paid twice, once for each ball his comedy is missing these days. There are dozens of ways Hollywood wastes a buck, but the one in the news today is reckless buying of literary properties. You may have heard that Seth Grahame-Smith has sold another of his books to Hollywood. Unholy Night, which releases next year, will be a revisionist take on the story of the three wise men who are now thieves or something. I don’t know, I’ll wait for the movie. Or not, because while Grahame-Smith has sold three of his revisionist novels, not a single one has made it to theaters yet. You probably heard of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies at Lionsgate or Fox’s adaptation of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Heard of them, seen the book covers, but when it comes to seeing any real progress on the films, ha. Never mind. Toss another one of these on the […]

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People are already ragging on World War Z, a movie over a year away. Adaptation always requires changes, but a book like World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War requires many, many changes. The structure doesn’t lend itself to a big budgeted Hollywood film. Director Marc Forster, clearly, knows this. Instead of making a documentary zombie movie, it’s a Brad Pitt and his family trying to survive movie! That’s not the World War Z fans know — and despite the current popular belief — that’s not the approach Forster is taking. A few weeks ago I spoke with the filmmaker, and his zombie epic was briefly touched upon. The interview was for Machine Gun Preacher, so I didn’t set out to ask about WWZ. But after discussing a few different aesthetics he’s shot and trying to bring smarts to blockbuster filmmaking, his currently filming adaptation naturally came up. Despite the narrative changes we all know about, Forster did set out to capture the spirit of the book, the political spirit:

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World War Z finally appears to be happening, with stories coming out quickly about who will be cast in which parts and when filming will start. The latest name to be tossed out is Lost star Matthew Fox, who might be bringing his trademark ability to scrunch up his face while crying to the production. According to Bloody Disgusting, they have reliable sources telling them the actor is on board to play “Parajumper.” There are apparently no other details about the character beyond the name (which sounds like a placeholder), but it does sound like Fox would be donning some military fatigues (or be donning veteran status). It would make for great casting alongside already great casting. Fox would join Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale and Anthony Mackie to describe the time that the planet got overrun with zombies. No word yet on what cameo role Max Brooks will take, but the people demand that he be on screen. Fox will next appear in I, Alex Cross and in Speed Racer if you want to rent it.

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World War Z

If you’re like me and you absolutely love Max Brooks’ book “World War Z,” then you’ve likely been following the development of the film adaptation very closely. It’s a text ripe for adaptation, as it features a nice vignette-style set of stories that tell one big tale about a ten-year war between humanity and the undead. It is also, from my perspective, one of the most grounded and realistic portrayals of what a zombie outbreak might be like. So to hear that Brad Pitt is going to star in the World War Z film as well as produce is quite a big deal. It also means that the project will now be well on its way to production.

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It might be a few more weeks until it’s finished, but the highly anticipated script goes to Paramount soon.

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world-war-z-concept

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. That said, we’re still not that excited about it.

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Marc Forster to direct World War Z

Do you like zombies? Do you like plots that involve the decimation of humanity? Do you like action scenes shot and edited into confusing jumbles of blurs so you have no clue what is happening on-screen?

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Comic Con 2008 Logo 1

If you’re like me, and you are – you handsome devil you – then you’ve been shaking uncontrollably since last Summer, fiendishly awaiting the next Comic-Con to roll around. In a little over a month, you’ll get your overdose, but in the meantime, the list of confirmed special guests should be enough to get you through the cold, lonely nights.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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