World War Z begins casting
I'm concerned for World War Z, the superbly created book from Max Brooks that interviews survivors of a war against a zombie plague that swept the planet and how humanity was on the brink and came back from it. The book is written very factually, using the interviews of the survivors as a real documentary or historical book might do, and it's hugely effective.
So the fact that J. Michael Straczynski was writing the screenplay and was said to be keeping it in that tone was exciting to say the least. However then Matthew Michael Carnahan was called in by the studio to rewrite it, and that's where my concerns lie and have remained undisturbed, until word of the first casting arrived.
Plan B Entertainment are behind the production being the company who secured the rights and are producing, so is it any surprise to find out that the first casting behind the film is the very man behind Plan B, Brad Pitt?
Not really I would say, but it's not a bad sign either, it does mean that there's a lot being given to the production if Pitt is the lead.
The big question though is how much Matthew Michael Carnahan has rewritten the script from the original and if we're going to end up with a traditional zombie film or something more akin to the book, something more clever. Well you could easily think that Carnahan is all about the action while J. Michael Straczynski is all about the thinking, but it's a pretty simplistic viewpoint to be honest.
Straczynski has written his fair share of epic wars in Babylon 5, and if you think of the Carnahan written film Lions for Lambs (Filmstalker review) then you'll see a film that takes place over the desk between two people simultaneously with battlefield action in the deserts abroad.
Thinking about those past films then you could see World War Z taking a mixture of the two routes, zombie battles across the globe from mocked real media coverage while the interviews with the people who survived. It could still work couldn't it?
He also reveals that the studio recently received a new draft of the script for World War Z, is that the Carnahan completed version, a new draft from him, or another writer who's been brought on board? I suspect it's another draft from Carnahan.
"I'm glad they took their time, and are trying to make the best zombie movie they can...I'm so glad they stayed with the project and so glad they found the right team."
More praise. I'm still not convinced that this is going to turn out as strongly as the book did, but it's certainly going in the right direction.
Oh, and completing the team that Brooks talks about is Marc Forster, who is still set to direct the film. So with Forster directing, Brooks in favour of the film, a script from Straczynski and Carnahan, and Pitt starring, is it starting to look good?