When we last left Marc Forster’s adaptation of Max Brooks’ World War Z, Paramount was balking at the $125 million price tag and was looking to other investors—namely David Ellison and his Skydance Productions—to help share the film’s cost. With Brad Pitt attached to star, the plan is turn Brooks’ novel of mankind’s war with zombies into a PG-13 tentpole. Deadline is now reporting “that hot and heavy talks are going on with David Ellison’s Skydance and as many as two other financiers to share the load on a movie that is gearing up for production as soon as June.” I haven’t heard much enthusiasm from fans of the novel, which is presented as a UN report that interviews survivors of the conflict.
I can understand why the thought of turning it into a PG-13 action movie held up by a movie star and directed by a guy who thoroughly failed at his previous action flick (Quantum of Solace) would leave fans cold. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the novel.
“The end was near.” —Voices from the Zombie War
The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.
Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.
Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?” [Amazon]