Marc Forster Talks About the Realism and Social Commentary Behind ‘World War Z’

By  · Published on September 7th, 2011

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:

“I think that’s the whole point of it. The book is not a narrative by any means, but that’s what I found in reading it: it can make for a political commentary within a genre picture.”

The director is also trying to set that commentary in a realistic world:

“You know, I want it all to feel very real. Zombies are a metaphor for human behavior. There’s so much interesting stuff happening in the world right now, and on a global scale of change. Not just in the Middle East, but a lot of other places, as well. I do think zombies are a great metaphor. In the 70s, zombies were very popular, and George Romero was making critical movies about consumerism. It’s a great metaphor to play with. If you make them a part of your environment, then the more people can identify that this could happen in the here and now.”

Make sure to check back in the next few weeks for our full interview, where Forster candidly discusses his filmography, working with actors, and Machine Gun Preacher.

Related Topics:

Longtime FSR contributor Jack Giroux likes movies. He thinks they're swell.