As Hollywood heads into a post-Harry Potter and post-Twilight franchise vacuum — sure, there are plenty of superheroes, but that’s about it, and Christopher Nolan‘s epic Batman trilogy is ending this year — it’s not just tempting to stretch any potential blockbuster into a coveted franchise. For studio execs, it’s becoming mandatory.
Thus, CinemaBlend‘s report that Paramount Pictures and director Marc Forster are looking at their still-in-production World War Z with Brad Pitt as the first of a full-blown trilogy will surprise precisely no one.
The only real point of note is that this will mark the very first time producer and star Brad Pitt will headline a series all by his lonesome, without his Ocean’s Eleven – Thirteen co-horts George Clooney and Matt Damon. (Contrary to popular belief, Clash of the Titans was not a sequel to Troy.) In an era when even gifted, respected thespians such as Robert Downey, Jr. seek out franchises (and he’s got not just Iron Man but Sherlock Holmes going for him), it’s kind of refreshing to see Pitt, arguably at the apex of his fame, appearing in fascinating, dissimilar films such of Tree of Life and Moneyball.
As outlined in this very good Los Angeles Times profile on Pitt and Moneyball, Paramount and Marc Forster have big plans for World War Z, the most expensive zombie film ever made. Pitt plays a United Nations fact-finder (with a family) who races against time to stop a pandemic that will (SPOILER ALERT!) lead to a world-wide zombie apocalypse. A reader of the Max Brooks novel will know that they’ve already made huge changes to the narrative; the book opens roughly a decade AFTER the Zombie War, and tracks the cause and effects of WWZ on very shaken world through a series of first-person accounts.
Still, if one zombie-lit universe is worth expanding, it’s Brooks’. (He’s come a long way from his father Mel’s shadow. Remember The Producers and Spaceballs? Yeah, he’s that guy’s kid) Max Brooks is a smart, talented writer of horror fiction, and his zombie universe spans novel and comic books. I’ve read all of them, and while Brad Pitt‘s character sounds like it was invented for the movie, if they can pull it off they will have achieved their worthy ambition — to “have the grounded, gun-metal realism of, say, Damon’s Jason Bourne series tethered to the unsettling end-times vibe of AMC’s The Walking Dead.” I’m there.
Are you a fan of the book World War Z? Are you looking forward to the movie?
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