Earlier this summer, World War Z hit theaters and surprised box office analysts and movie pundits with a $66.4 million opening weekend haul. Currently, the zombie film has raked in $456.4 million worldwide, and is being fast-tracked for a sequel to kick-start a new franchise. Needless to say, World War Z is a big hit. Before the film was released, however, there were serious concerns. Production had been delayed, the third act of the script had to be rewritten multiple times, and massive reshoots delayed the release. Luckily for everyone involved, production woes and bad buzz didn’t impact audiences or critics, as the film gathered mostly positive reviews. Perhaps most shocking in all of this is that Max Brooks, author of the book the film is based on, actually liked the finished product.
In an interview with USA Today, Brooks revealed that he was surprised that he actually had fun while watching World War Z. The 41-year-old writer apparently didn’t like the theatrical trailer, but he enjoyed the film despite his initial hesitation. Brooks explained:
I was expecting to hate, it and I wanted to hate it because it was so different from my book, and yet the fact that it was so different from my book made it easier to watch because I didn’t watch my characters and my story get mangled…So I was just watching somebody else’s zombie movie, which was fun and intense.
When it comes to film adaptations, creators of the source material often aren’t too keen with the film versions. Unless an author writes the screenplay themselves, the adaptation is always someone’s else interpretation of their work. But for Brooks, considering that the film was so different from his book, he could treat is as something separate.
Brooks continued by talking about his experience differed from that of other writers watching adaptations of their stories:
They watch their characters do things they would never do and say things they would never say…It’s infuriating. I never had a ‘Gerry Lane-wouldn’t-say-that moment because I didn’t invent Gerry Lane (the film’s main character played by Brad Pitt). In fact, the only character they kept from my book, Jurgen Warmbrunn, the Israeli intelligence analyst, he was actually pretty spot on.
After hearing about the film’s success, Brooks jokingly said he should take up moviemaking and give up on writing books. He added, “I just heard something through the grapevine — (the movie has already made) a $600 million profit. My god, I’m in the wrong business.”
Brooks recently finished a graphic novel for Avatar Comics called The Extinction Parade. The graphic novel is based on his own short story, which is about, you guessed it, a zombie apocalypse, but told from the point of view of vampires. The comic explores the dangers of privilege, how strength can sometimes be a weakness, and how a superpower (vampires) deals with the undead. It seems like vampires would have a hard time trying to find fresh blood when all the people of the world become zombies. Perhaps vampires and humans team-up to kill off the undead.
As for World War Z, Random House recently released an unabridged audiobook of Brooks’ best-selling novel. The new recording features a number of celebrity voices from the geek world, including Simon Pegg, Frank Darabont, Nathan Fillion, and Jeri Ryan.