Max Brooks’ World War Z (reviewed by Prisco here) is one of my favorite books in recent memory. It probably comes as no surprise that I enjoyed a book about the zombie apocalypse, but World War Z, like the Walking Dead graphic novels, is a different take on the genre — a totally humorless, grim, gritty, brutal telling of what the world would really be like. Told without a trace of irony without any winks or nods, it’s at times absolutely devastating. It’s uneven in parts, but still, I found it fascinating. Much like The Walking Dead, when news broke that it was being adapted into a film, I was nervous as hell.
The novel was picked up by Plan B Productions, which is owned by Brad Pitt, and has been in production for a while. Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) has been announced as the director, and now we’ve got a star… surprise! It’s Brad Pitt. Now here’s the thing — I actually really like Pitt as an actor. I think he’s actually kind of amazing. He generally picks solid projects, and while he’s a little too in-the-limelight at times, he’s a great actor. My concern for a while now has been that WWZ isn’t just one story about one character, but rather a series of stories that take place all over the world, each separate from the other. It’s a bunch of vignettes telling how the zombie apocalypse affects (and infects) different countries and populations and how they handle it. It focuses on individuals or groups within those nations, using their personal stories to show how the larger populace has been affected.
Apparently, Matthew Michael Carnahan’s script has found a way to address that issue. Pitt will play a UN diplomat named Gerry Lane, who is charged with compiling a report on the effects of the war. It neatly allows for a main character, but also sticks with the collective storytelling aspects of the book. I’m guessing that for it to work, they’re going to need a fairly large ensemble cast. I’m now officially excited.
Truth be told, the zombie genre, while one of my historic favorites, has been getting pretty tired recently. We’ve had some real garbage pumped out recently, and I feel like I’ve been let down by most films released post-Shaun of the Dead (Update: I forgot Zombieland, which is awesome. Thanks NTM). I like the idea of taking a more realistic approach like this and the coming Darabont-directed AMC series, and hopefully it will inject some fresh perspectives and ideas into the genre. Lord knows we need it after the recent awful Romero releases, the ultimately disappointing Dead Snow, and yet another Resident Evil movie coming out soon (which I confess, I kind of want to see).
Of course, there’s always L.A. Zombie, otherwise known as “The Gay Zombie Porno.”
(source: The Playlist)