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World War Z - The Zombie Wars Movie

by
February 28, 2007

World War ZYou've probably never heard of this book, but you should definitely take an interest. It's written by Max Brooks, Mel Brooks' son, who also wrote "The Zombie Survival Guide". Without going too much into detail about World War Z, it's another faux zombie tale subtitled "An Oral History of the Zombie War" that's set in the aftermath of a war fought between humanity and a legion of flesh-eating zombies.

In another update from the New York Comic-Con last weekend via IGN, "Babylon 5" creator J. Michael Straczynski announced that he is writing the screenplay adaptation of the book for Paramount. The novel's rights were picked up last year by none other than Brad Pitt's production company Plan B (that's previously produced Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Departed), with a possibility of having him star.

"You all know the novel World War Z?" asked Straczynski of his audience during a New York Comic-Con panel on Friday. "I'm adapting that for Paramount. For Brad Pitt potentially -- we'll see what happens. He might be the star in it. So things are going very well for a TV guy."

Straczynski also acknowledged that the book needs to be modified in order to work as a movie, particularly because it's an anthology that features no main character or plot, but rather tells the story via the recollections of the many survivors of a decade-long war against the living dead. You can read the full report with more quotes from Straczynski at IGN.

I really love these fun zombie flicks, as long as they're done well, and I can't wait for Fido to finally come out for everyone to see, as it is definitely a new classic. This sounds promising, as I've heard of "The Zombie Survival Guide" previously and know it's become a well known book (on zombies), so hopefully "World War Z" makes for a great movie in the end. Anyone read it?

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  • Nick
    I'll definitely be interested to hear more about this movie. Only zombie movie (that wasn't really even a zombie movie) that I thought was artful was 28 Days Later. Was excited to hear about 28 Weeks Later until I found out it's being made by a different writer/director than the 1st one. Maybe World War Z will be tasteful, we'll just have to wait and see.
  • http://www.watchthiswreck.com Adam
    I read this book and really enjoyed it. It definitely will need a LOT of work to get into movie form though. The book is written as a series of interviews with survivors of the war. To keep it in the spirit of the book they're going to be doing a lot of flashbacks during the interviews to keep the movie interesting.
  • Kyle
    I have seen just about every zombie film out there, yes that does include zombie 1, 2, and 3 aswell as zombie nation, those were all terrbile, but I disagree with the notion that 28 days later was the only zombie flic that was artfully done. If you watch the original, night of the living dead, you will have a better understanding of what goes into a good zombie film. I do agree that 28 days later was one of the best but in a certain sense shawn of the dead could even be considered artfully done. I read this book and I am very excited for it to come out. It promises to be one of the best zombie fils yet.
  • gu up beep
    Maine 28 days later wuz whack! Thats not a zombie movie. Zombies DO NOT RUN!!! max brooks knowz wut he is talking about. The best zombie movies out there are night of the living dead, dawn of the dead, and day of the dead. Everyone of them movies were George A. Romeros. Zombies do not run or talk.YOU GOT THAT MAINE!!!!!!
  • Zombers everywhere
    I loved World War Z and its geopolitical scope. As for the movies, I think we're in a golden age of zomber greats. George A. Romero, bless his soul, has a wicked eye for the problems of our society and its leaders. Shawn of the Dead was great, and I found a lot of like in 28 Days Later. I don't think we have to be so strict about the rules of the undead, however, and thus I think Slither is a remarkable movie that has zombies at its soul.
  • joly
    Its just a great book. I'm not normally into the zombie thing but the first book from Max Brooks was so cleaver. This one, however I think is a bit big to be crammed into one film. this needs a good production from the Television industry. Its stories from all over the world. Peoples memories of what happened. Its not just zombie gore fests either. Its about the horrors human inflicted upon eachother to survive. Int he first book Mr Brooks gave good advice on survival in a situation concerning a viral outbreak. How to protect yourself, what weapons you would need, where to go, hwat would be the best way to get there and when you do how to set up your habitat to with stand not just zombies but the living as well. He even gave examples of past outbreaks. I thought it was very tongue in cheek but then along came World War Z. After telling you how to survive he gives an account of the outbreak, the following panic and then the recovery of the human race and what, if anything, the survivors learned. This is not you average zombie story. It has so much more.
  • Pablo
    OH MAN!! I've read both World War Z and Survival Guide to Zombies (it was a Christmas present). And I have to agree with joly. I LOVED the survival book, it was awesome... but I think it would be better as a series, not as a movie. There's just so much going on and the mini stories are done very well. I was even hoping to get in contact with Max Brooks myself and collaberate on a series of shorts... but alas.. too late.. =( CURSE YOU PLAN B!!! =P I will most definitely check this film out though.. it's worth a look if you like Zombie flicks as much as I do.. and both the books are definitely worth reading. They are very clever and fun to read.
  • brian
    pablo, your a nerd.... ahah.. bottom line all these different zombie movies are all the same... we need to make an ALIEN vs ZOMBIE movie... involving one of the most scariest things ever invented the alien and the creepiest the zombie...
  • Rob Z
    Alien Vs Zombies?! sounds like advice from a guy stuck in the 80's. Stick to your day job, guy. Yes, most zombie movies are the same, but not in plot or storyline. What makes a great zombie flick, aside from the occasional headshot or chewing of limbs, is the suspense and idea that the end is inevitable. By far my most favorite line from a great Zombie movie that I don't see anyone else mentioning "Dawn of the Dead" is.. "When there is no more room in Hell... the dead will walk the earth" But I agree with joly and pablo, World War Z would make a great mini series. I just hope the movie adaption doesn't blow.
  • Kyle
    Silly Brian, Aliens aren't invented, they're given birth to by alien mommy aliens or they can be given life in the stomach of sacrificial human beings.
  • Dave
    If done well, a "World War Z" movie could be an important film that demonstrates the world's reaction (govermnents, industries, societies, individuals) to a monumental disaster be it medical or other. I look forward to this project and encourage people to see this book (and movie) as an expose of possible responses to a world wide threat.
  • Matt
    Maybe they should keep it in the interview format, and instead of a big screen production, set it as a Mini-series, with the scenes coming up as they speak with the interviewer. It'd be tailor made for Sci-Fi channel or HBO perhaps....that way, they don't have to worry about cutting out too much...
  • Pablo
    Yeah! I definitely like Matt's idea much better. There's just too much good material in the book to cut out. And yes, Brian you are the bigger nerd.. ahaha.. Aliens Vs Zombies? Why not a mix then? Because then I think Aliens will have met their match.. Imagine.. Aliens running from the Zombie Aliens!! But anyway back to real world news. Yes I think Matt is on to something here. I could see it happening on HBO as a series. Like Band of Brothers. It would be better on HBO because then the screenplay writers don't have to hold back. I think the Sci-Fi channel is too conservative for something as rich as World War Z.
  • http://www.bobmchenryvideo.com Bob Mchenry
    I agree whole heartedly with the mini series concept. The new breeds of television series are becoming very cinematic so the filmmakers wouldn't lose much by going to television and subsequently to DVD rather than theatrical releasing, although I would love to see it theatrically. I am a little torn on how I would like to see this wonderful book brought to life (unlife), but I am excited that it will (especially the Battle of Yonkers.)
  • YES WORLD WAR Z
    You guys are totaly right it would be a great adaptation to the screen just as long as they did not cut it too much... But guys remember it is Brad Pitts company and he has never gone wrong... and yea the battle of yonkers would be good but to show portray that 1 scene where they would show a line of soldier/citizens walking across the U.S. in order to clear America from the Zombie infestation from coast to coast would be great...
  • cumown na ba
    maine cumowne na ba zombies r real. nobody knows about dem but the goverment is hidding them
  • Jeremy
    Unbelieveable book! Entire time I read it I thought, "this would be a great movie!!" It is so epic in scale, I really think it should be made into a mini-series on HBO, like Band of Brothers!!
  • Jane
    I've read this book twice so far just to take it in. Its a master piece in horror. I have the Zombie survival guide to and loved every tongue in cheek minute of it. I agree totally that its to much for a standard two hour film. It needs either a series or mini series to cover all the brilliant and worth while stories of the the survivors. I'm worried that Hollywood will ruin what is truely a real gem of an idea. I'm not a Zombie film fan myself but I found that Max has created a world not so different that it could not be real. Lets face it who knows what goverment run labs are playing with. It is a damning look at the way authorities deal with world threatening problems. It is a mostly thrilling, sometimes heartbreaking and always nerve jangling ride told by those who lived it. I'm hoping that it will be given the time and the best production money has to buy.
  • Biggus Diccus
    Sweet book. Glad to hear they are doing a screen play. Hopefully it works through the process and actually makes it to the theaters. Should keep it in interview form though otherwise it will be too confusing to the audience. I am now going to reread it after I finish Bourne Legacy (I was hoping the fourth book would be Bourne Again where Jason Bourne tries to find God).
  • http://www.bebo.com/themiggidymackdaddy Tom
    I read both books, I was hooked after the first one, but World War Z is by far the better of the two because it jumps from culture to culture with interviews with all of the I dont like Straczynski's idea that the film needs a lead role. The book grabs the attention of the reader mainly because it is not based in one geographic location, around one/two "main" characters. The real pull of the story is how all of the different countries involved in the story had their own battles to fight with the undead, and the tactics they used to survive and fight back. If all of that is gotten rid of in favour of a "Brad Pitt fights zombies in the U.S" plot then the story will loose so much of its punch, and much of its appeal. I think if the film was done in a pulp fiction style, following the adventures of diffent groups around the world with an intertwined story it could work well.
  • Courtney Dane
    The cliche of "I couldn't put the book down" applies here as I sat and read it cover to cover in 7 hours. But it was the subtle things, the small moments as people reflect on their memories, that made this book special. Max Brooks did his homework- the completely implausible becomes amazingly real. And that a'int easy. The kid can write.
  • Leroy Vance
    They shouldn't turn the book into a linear narrative. It should be filmed like a Ken Burns documentary with 'archival' footage from camera phones, vid cams, media clips, etc. Let the 'survivors' tell the stories in interviews. I think that would capture the essence of the book and be new and interesting.
  • http://www.bobmchenryvideo.com Bob
    I agree completely Leroy, however I will hold my breath until that happens. If any company is going to invest in a film like this they have to make it "marketable" and generally marketable equals easily digestible to several demographics. I am expecting some great graphic design, a balls out web advertising campaign, and a sadly disappointing film.
  • Courtney Dane
    If it cannot be done as a mini-series or as a cluster of seperate films (a la Lord of the Rings) then the LeRoy angle is the way to go.
  • Clancy
    Help!! Speculation needed!!! I loved the book and I look foward to the movie. Pages 159 through 168 tell the story of the film maker and the movie he shot to boost morale "Victory at Avalon: The Battle of the Five Colleges". Max Brooks (author) has the character saying....."It was the night before their last, worst attack, when a fresh horde from the east was clearly visible on the horizon. The kids were hard at work-sharpening weapons, reinforcing defenses, standing guard on the walls and towers. A song comes floating across the the campus from the loudspeaker that played constant music to keep morale up. A Scripp student, with a voice like an angel, was singing the Roxy Music song. It was such a beautiful rendition, and such a contrast with the raging storm about to hit. I laid it over my "preparing for battle" montage. I still get choked up when I hear it."..... That imagery is great!, but what was the song Max Brooks was thinking of??? Anybody have a guess???
  • Elanin
    I adore the book. Really scary stuff, and not at all cheesy. No idea how they are going to manage to make it into a film but I wait with baited breath!
  • Bob
    Clancy, Probably "Avalon". Only makes sense.
  • Patrick Cunningham
    I just listened to the audiobook, and I have to say that I hope they keep at least some of the people the same. Especially Henry Rollins. John Tuturro, Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner, and Alan Alda were great too. I would say Mark Hammill, but the role he did (Todd Wanio) seems to be much younger than he is. Although he did a fantstic job on the audiobook. Any word on a director?
  • c3PO
    I'm physced for this. Although, if it IS a mini-series....I hope it's not like those cheesey/ low-budget Scifi channel things. Those are the worst waste of money...ever. However, I've read the book. So I know it'll be amazing if it's done in "good" way...for lack of a better word. I've probably read The Zombie Survival Guide at least 6-8 times, and World War Z twice. PLEASE BE AMAZING.
  • Nancy
    Is WWZ out in paperback yet?? I am too cheap to buy the hardcover, even from Ebay
  • do it right
    please just film it as it is written- the interviewer and humanity in general are the main characters... each of the stories should be filmed- the pilot escaping after the crash in the swamp and the new york battle will be so good. point is, we don't need another "regular" zombie flick, yawn.... you guys should homage the scene from zombi(2) where the shark and zack square off underwater. god this book rules
  • http://www.atlastakesaim.com billie the girl
    This was a GREAT book. I'm actually not into zombie movies, because, well, they scare me. But this book was so intelligently written I couldn't put it down. It was well thought out; he did a great job of creating scenarios that were completely believable and interesting, while still being super creepy. I had nightmares the whole time I read it - and it was worth it!
  • Mike
    I've read the hardback and listened to the audiobook. The audio was good, but it needed to have a lot more then it did. There is so much more in the text that should have been in the audio and I hope to god is in whatever movie they make
  • ZombieMom
    Maybe Brad Pitt can play the person who gathers the interviews. That way he's the "star" but the anthology form of the book is preserved. Our copy of this book has been making the rounds at my kids' school ever since we all finished reading it. Max Brooks is the MAN.
  • poostain
    They are going about this all wrong. The format of the book would better be suited for a mini-series on hbo or some other paycable channel.
  • Mike
    Definately a mini series format would be great. like the book is divided. I'd say the history channel could get into it since the book has World War Z being history anyway.
  • jason_md2020
    I have to go with turning this into a series on either HBO or SHOWTIME. Any other channel would water down the gore aspects. If they insist on making it into a narrative movie, without using the interview structure in the book, it only makes sense to make it an ensemble piece, and structure it like Traffic, Babel, or Syriana. A collection of separate international stories ultimately tying together into one giant epic.
  • Matt J
    I loved the book. I don't think it would work as a standard feature film. A Ken Burns style mockumentary would be the best way to bring it to life for the big or small screen.
  • El Gran Kafer
    I hope that this movie follows the format of the book and it doesn't become another Hollywood disappointment like "I am Legend." I agree that Plan B shouldn't tailor the story to make it fit into a 2 hrs movie. Perhaps, they should make two (or 3) movies like some one else here pointed out. This will add more suspense (and revenue!). I also agree that it shouldn't be a linear plot movie and it should jump from scene to scene (like 48 grams, perhaps) or like the new movie Cloverfield; keeping it a recollection of interviews and passed memories of survivors of the zombie pandemic will be the deisred effect. I would love to see the multicultural aspect of the book in the movie because that gave the book its complexity. I am eager to see the LOBO weapon as well as the scene in outer space from the NASA space station. And what about the beginning story in rural China with the first infected boy and how he forces to brake away from the chains and his limbs ripped apart? Wow, I would love to see that suspense and horror. If Bratt Pitt's production company is smart enough and they really care to make a lot of money, they should respect the author's vision and stick to the book's plot. I know that I will go see this movie.
  • Sam
    This sounds awsome. The book is great... but I don't think its meant to be a movie. To remain true to the book, a menie series or some kind of episode style film would have to be made. A movie is too short, and would leave many of the details from the book out of the story.
  • Lightsin
    Whats with the 28 days later discussion? I thought this was about World War Z. I think it will be pretty good since the book was, bit it will take some work to turn it into a movie.
  • http://www.myspace.com/madrikpaschall Madrik
    These publications of survival, such as I Am Legend, relating to vampirism, Brooks' productions including his invovlement in the late version of Dawn of the Dead and Resident Evil on small screens, I've grown an enormous interest in the idea and begun developing concepts of my own, including a bunker (for nuclear war, zombies, vampires, home invaders, mother visits, ect.) that will sustain my girlfriend and I for years and years. World War Z and the Zombie Survival Guide are great modivation tools for my imagination. If anyone has these same interests and is interested in participating in the development of a major MMORPG/First Person game with completely original concepts, let me know.
  • AJ
    "Straczynski also acknowledged that the book needs to be modified in order to work as a movie, particularly because it's an anthology that features no main character or plot,..." I dont know about anyone else, But I think that the work just as itself could stand up on its own. The story does have a plot to it. It is the Zombie war. There is no need for a main character because that would turn Max Brook's, dare I say excellent, work into another lame, cheap budget films. I really do not want see that happen.
  • Brady
    Agreed! Quit doing what everyone else is doing.
  • Jaysus
    MAKE IT INTO A MINI-SERIES FOR THE LOVE OF SCIENCE! Drop your purses and grab your balls. Don't adapt the book into a screenplay, adapt the screenplay into all that is the book. Meet it all the way. You don't need glam celebs to make this story seen, heard and felt. If you're going to cut down on the thrill and chapters in the book, cancel the whole project. Here is a movie to produce, "The Last Samurai 2: The Wrath of Scientology" Other than that, if you're aiming for a little less shitty just give Segall a call. Maybe you can cast him as the President of the United States of Earth.
  • Nick Duran
    If Paul Anderson buys the rights to make this movie I am going to kill everyone he has ever cared about. resident evil 3 extinction ruined my life.
  • Brian
    Have there been any recent updates regarding the progress on this film since being taken to "write the script"?
  • http://www.bigbadmedium.com Abe Garcia
    I'm about halfway done with this book, I'm loving it so far. I hope they do a good job with the movie. I'm a big zombie fan, but I'll cry if they make this like Cloverfield. Cloverfield made me sad.
  • Fern
    I'd love to see a mini-series where each character speaks in his own language and little pieces of the narrative slowly come together with flashbacks and such, something in the format style of heroes would be great. And I agree, you don't need big time actors to pull this one off, although I like alot of things Brad Pitt has done, I would sure hate to see Steven Seagall.
  • Derrick Hunt
    I like the idea of a miniseries... or perhaps even an actual series similar in nature to the Masters of Horror stuff. Something where guest directors could take a story from the book and translate it. I think that would be really interesting. These could be great 1 hour segments that could all be done low budget with good unknown actors... most of the stories could be done extremely low budget and, given the history of good zombie movies, should be done low budget.
  • brian
    i dont think that they should change any part of the book. it was well written and can be showed on screen with a series of flashbacks and storytellings. no need to ruin the book by haveing some overpaid retard acting as a main character in the entire movie. whats wrong with haveing several stories. they all tie together fairly well without the need for a movie producer to dumb it down for stupid people that would never consider picking up the book.
  • Marc
    Though I would love to see another great zombie movie I agree with the other posts that say this book would only work as a mini series... there's simply too much to put in a short two hour flick. And, ironically this book was brilliant in that it was far more than about zombies. The geo-political aspect alone could have me writing an obscenely long post about it. Max Brooks is briiliant.... he is some how somewhere between Geroge Romero and Tom Clancy. Brooks gets it in that it's not so much about the gore or zombies but really about us and how we'll deal and/or survive such an exponentially growing horror... an easily beaten or destroyed monster individually but collectively grows in strength due to our own failures/greeds. To me the core about the zombie genre is about "how can a society or an individual be destroyed by simple minded monsters.' ... Zombies are clumsy and easily destroyed... They can only take over or destroy the world if we allow it to happen.... and we will EVERY TIME. OK, I'm gong off... anyways, I had equated Brooks to Clancy because of his thoughtful analysis of how different countiries would deal and how each country relates or adopts from each other. Brooks exceeds Romero in that he has judged society not only in realistic terms of coping but his analysis has gone much further. Strangely but perhaps accurately, Brooks does not doom us due to our nature like Romero does. He actually has us winning in the end. Anyways, Brooks book is very thought provoking (and is strangely not so much about zombies.) I look forward to the movie but know that is will pale in comparison to his book. It would be better suited as a psuedo-documentary with just characters telling their story with nothing more than a black curtain as a setting. Hollywood would only ruin it with special effects, gore and a hollywood-execs reimaging of plot/concept that caters to the lowest common denominator in depth or understanding. They'll blow it.
  • Hassan Shah
    I read world war z and absolutely loved it. It did`nt have the special political messages such as "They`re us and we`re them" which Romero loves to put in most of his films. Dont get me wrong, Romeo is the master of the zombie genre. But in the end its basically a horror flick where undead zombies try eat the living, which makes the zombies the bad guys in my perspective. World war z pretty much captured it right and if theres a movie going to be made about it then count me in, it should be pretty good.
  • The Survivalist (somewhere in North Dakota)
    You guys debating movie vs. mini-series have it all wrong. I want both! First you get the big screen, epic treatment that only movies can bring. Dark room, Dolby Surround, CGI, etc. etc. Make it real, make it big, make it terrifying! Then, after huge box office success and maybe a couple of major awards, on demand PPV, DVD and cable exclusives... then comes the miniseries as a follow-up. Or, if I don't miss my guess, by then Max will have written another book and we'll be in sequel territory. This is a big book, think big screen and big franchise! Oh, and don't forget to get to the sporting goods store and buy your 0-degree sleeping bag. You're gonna need it up in Canada.
  • Richard
    28 days/weeks later was NOT zombies! jesus christ. It was a rage virus. All they did was go around beating the shit out of people and occasionally biting people.
  • leor
    I've read the book and I've got to say there is no chance the book will be treated right as a movie. mini-series is the way to go
  • Clif
    I really did enjoy this book. they have to do it right and make the movie look like a documentary
  • http://myspace.com/devouredbyzombies Brandon
    I have read many books on zombies, seen every movie(own allmost all of them). I have been fascinated by the thought of the zombie apocalypse since my mom let me watch dawn of the dead back in 88. I recently read world war z (twice) and have never been so moved by a zombie story. He really makes you feel like your in this undead world and expresses the importance of slow zombies. theres no other way around it. the dead are slow. they are dead. Words cannot express how devistated i would be if they took this magnificent, extrordinary work of art called world war z and turned it into this bullshit hollywood 28 days later clone (which isnt even a zombie movie) that would be forgotten in two years or end up some cult classic for gorehounds that want nothing more but cheap cgi gore effects. I hope they keep the stories in the book the way they are instead of conjuring up some cheap scare by hiring a bunch of sprinters to run across a camera. i know Mr. Brooks would agree.
  • Mr. Jenkins
    It would royally suck if they cocked it up. . . That being said, massive CGI effects would be needed simply to get the sheer scope of the story. The evacuations to the sea in India, the first clash between a horde and the US in Yonkers, the second major battle in Hope. Just gives me chill bumps when I envision a line two ranks deep of Infantry firing into a horde and dropping one every shot. More importantly than staring totally true to the book's time line and events, this should really be a movie to capture the political satire present in World War Z and put the whole zombie thing out there for the mass public to take in and digest.
  • Scorpio
    The way the story is told will make or break this film. In the book it is a documentary of after they completed the war and in a film where there are huge zombie attacks i dont think they would want to spoil it by saying the ending. Rather we will probably see the views and actions of some of the people there with us bieng different charecters as we see the attack of the Zombie hords. P.s. The concept art for Yonkers is wrong there were no snipers seen top left and there needs to be more news helicopters in the book there were atleast five or six. Also when the zombies eventually reached the wall there was a black cloud which obscured them from view however in this image the zombies are at the wall and there is no cloud.

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