Paramount is forging ahead with plans for a sequel to this summer’s zombie tentpole World War Z, and the first order of business is finding a new director. Due to the contentious and trouble-laden production process, WWZ helmer Marc Forster wasn’t keen on returning to direct a potential follow-up. When the film defied expectations and had Brad Pitt’s biggest opening weekend of his career, soaring to $540 million worldwide, Paramount started making moves on a follow-up. Now the studio has settled on a new director to take the helm of the franchise, attaching The Impossible director Juan Antonio Bayona to oversee the development of World War Z 2. Hit the jump for more.
Heat Vision reports that Bayona was on “a very short list” of directors that Pitt and the studio were looking at to take the helm of the follow-up, and after meeting with Pitt—who will again be producing this sequel—Bayona has landed the gig. Writers are not attached just yet, but Bayona will be overseeing the writing and development of the follow-up. Bayona first burst onto the scene with the well-received 2007 horror film The Orphanage before exploring the effects of the 2004 tsunami in the 2012 drama The Impossible, which netted Naomi Watts a Best Actress Oscar nomination.
Though World War Z concluded with Pitt’s character being reunited with his family and a drug to combat the zombie infection being distributed throughout the world, the original ending of the film was much more open-ended and sequel-ready. Forster and his production initially shot a third act that found Pitt fighting zombie hordes in Russia while his wife was being held captive by a military leader, the character played by Matthew Fox. The intention was to center a sequel around Pitt’s quest to rescue and reunite with his family, but the reworked third act of the film seems to have scrapped that plan so it’ll be interesting to see where they go from here.
There’s no word on what the story of the World War Z follow-up will be, but as someone who was pleasantly surprised by the first film, I hope Bayona takes note of how much more effective the smaller-scale tension in the final third was than the full-blown action sequences from the middle of the film. I’d very much like to see that sort of character-centric drama explored further in the sequel.
What about you, readers? What do you want to see from a World War Z sequel? Sound off in the comments below.