We were as surprised as everyone else when Marc Forster’s adaptation of Max Brooks’ zombie novel World War Z wasn’t terrible, not to mention the fact that it was a massive worldwide hit. Not only did the source material appear unfilmable, but the production encountered huge problems, especially with the third act, which was rewritten multiple times by multiple big name screenwriters. One thing we learned after the film underwent seven weeks works of reshoots is that movie audiences really like to watch Brad Pitt run away from things. They like it so much so much, in fact, that there was almost immediate talk of a sequel. Today brings news that reinforces the fact that we will indeed see World War Z 2, the film has now hired director Juan Antonio Bayona to helm the follow-up.
We knew that Forster had no intention of coming back for the further adventures of Brad Pitt versus the undead, he made that clear a while back. After all, it sounded like the gig sucked real bad the first time around. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount and Skydance Productions have tapped Bayona, who directed 2011’s tsunami drama The Impossible, and the Guillermo del Toro-produced horror joint The Orphanage in 2008. He has a sharp cinematic eye, and is equally adept at big spectacle moments as with tender touches that will go to work on your tear ducts.
It’s going to be interesting to see what the plot of the second World War Z winds up being about. The original ending involved the hero, UN worker Gerry Lane (Pitt), being conscripted to fight in a massive, knock down drag out zombie brawl in Russia, which sounds cold and desolate. In this version, his wife, played by Mirielle Enos (The Killing, which is, itself, a kind of zombie since it keeps coming back from the dead), has to trade sex with a soldier in order to keep her family’s spot in a secure refugee camp.
That’s the world the sequel will presumably drop you, the viewer, into. Will they go this grim or not, is a big question, but then again, they could easily go in any of a number of directions. It’s possible they could keep the same globetrotting structure, where Gerry bounces from place to place. Perhaps this time he could be looking for his family instead of looking for a cause of the zombie pandemic that engulfed the globe.
Whatever the story, odds are that the budget on World War Z 2 won’t be anywhere near the $190 million of the first film. You can also bet the studio will keep a tighter reign on Bayona and company, too, this time around. World War Z made $540 million dollars worldwide, but things definitely got out of control, production wise, and the studio isn’t going to be anxious to repeat that anytime soon.