JMS talks World War Z
I suddenly have fears for World War Z, and that's even after the superb writer J. Michael Straczynski has spoken out about the script and what his angle is for the story. My biggest fear is how he describes the project and what film he thinks is the closest to it.
Not that his choice of comparison is scary, it's more to do with when that's paired up with the director Marc Forester. At this point I'm concerned it's going to end up far from what it could have been.
Talking about the project, J. Michael Straczynski says that while the novel was the resulting work of the United Nations investigator following the outbreak of disease and discovering the truth behind what was happening and how the worlds governments were trying to deal with it, the film is going to follow the investigator actually doing that work, discovering the story that he's going to write about.
Now I really like that angle. The film shows his experiences first hand, and the book is the resulting work. Great take on it.
JMS even goes on to say, through MTV, that he's trying to preserve the identity of the original, which I would think means that he's keeping the feel, and only transferring it to events as they happen instead of a completed documentary or novel.
“The fictional concept of the book is that its written by someone with the UN, so let’s tell that story...Let’s show the book being written. We follow this guy all over the world as he goes on these interviews, and he has his own personal story as well. You’re cutting between the past and the present, how he got to this point...
...It has that international feel to it, and because it goes backward and forward in time, we can cherry-pick our favorite moments in the book...Some of it is crazy in scale. It’s huge. It’s as political as the book was. And it ends with that book being completed.”
It does sound good, in fact great, and the more JMS talks about World War Z the more excited you get. Until he says this.
“We talk about it as a thriller, the closest comparison being The Bourne Identity...Most zombie movies to this point have been small, focusing on a few people in a house. And this has got real scare. You’re in India with hundreds of boats trying to get out of there with a tidal wave of zombies. The scale of what we’re doing here is phenomenal.”
Okay, that in itself doesn't sound bad, even if imagining a Bourne style action thriller made from World War Z does go a little against the grain of what the novel is, it could work really well for film – as long as they don't turn it into a Romero “same as always” zombie film.
Except there's another factor to consider, that of Marc Forster. Considering what he did to action in the latest Bond Film Quantum of Solace (Filmstalker review), I'm not sure how a zombie film whose closest comparison is a Bourne thriller is going to turn out. Chopped to bits in the editing room I presume.
I'm really not sure if I like the direction that this is going, of course I have to realise that the studio are raking it in through Quantum of Solace, but it doesn't make it the best Bond film, nor does it make it a strong film full stop. Will World War Z fare better?