If you haven't read it, "World War Z" is one of the sharpest books to be released in the past decade. Set in a grim possible future, the book is presented as a series of interviews with survivors of a globe-spanning zombie war, an incident which very nearly brought about the downfall of human society. Author Max Brooks, the son of Hollywood filmmaker Mel Brooks, employs the full spectrum of commentary to create a frighteningly believable scenario in which the human race responds to a complete societal breakdown.
Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with Brooks, who is busy promoting his upcoming appearance on the Starz Inside special Zombiemania, premiering October 13 at 10pm. He was more than happy to discuss the adaptation plans for "Z," which was picked up by Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment a few years ago.
First, some back story may be in order. After Plan B acquired the rights to the book, word emerged that "Quantum of Solace" helmer Marc Forster would direct a script from "Babylon 5" creator J. Michael Straczynski. More recently, news emerged that "The Kingdom" writer Matthew Michael Carnahan had been brought in to do... something with the script.
The initial script, the first draft from Straczynski, left the book's author very impressed. "I read Straczynski's first draft, and it was f---ing brilliant. As the book writer i know that's sacrilege to say, but it really was good," Brooks said. "I turned to my wife and said 'Honey, this is as good as the book. This is gonna be an amazing movie.'"
First drafts being what they are, you can expect that the script has changed some since Brooks first read it. "You know... the studio comes in and gives their notes and Forster came in and gave his notes," he explained. "Carnahan was brought in for reasons unbeknownst to me. Maybe he's doing a polish, maybe he's doing a top-down rewrite. I know that his draft is supposed to come in in the next few weeks."
So it sounds like the wheels are still turning on "World War Z." They might not be spinning as fast as fans might like, but it's good to know there's momentum. There's no way of knowing if Carnahan's coming draft will be the last, or if Forster will be available to jump in on the production immediately. Either way, I for one can't wait to see Brooks' vision realized on the big screen. He is referred to in the "Zombiemania" doc as this sort of next great hope for the genre, an assessment I'm inclined to agree with.
Have you read "World War Z" or "The Zombie Survival Guide" before it? What's your level of interest in seeing "Z" turned into a movie? Would you like to see the adaptation keep a sort of documentary bent, like the book, or would you rather get a story set during the war?