Regardless of how big a pain in the ass World War Z was for Paramount, Skydance, and director Marc Forster, the flick’s $540 million global take made a sequel almost inevitable. World War Z 2 has had a director for some months now, and we’ve been absolutely clueless as to who would takeover the storytelling duties for what will presumably be a massive follow-up. Surprisingly enough, the studios have landed on British writer/director/indie king Steven Knight, perhaps best known for penning the Oscar-nominated script for the excellent 2002 thriller Dirty Pretty Things. Does this mean we can expect less CGI destruction and more close-quarters, character-driven plotting?
The news was reported by Variety, who also added the very important reminder that Brad Pitt is still on board to reprise his role of United Nations badass Gerry Lane. (That guy is having the worst days.) But it’s absolutely possible that the film won’t even be centered on Lane’s story if Pitt does indeed star. Interestingly enough, Pitt was recently attached to a WWII romantic drama that Knight also wrote. Perhaps the two bonded and discussed other ways to tell a story in a world with barely any metropolitan cities left zombie-free.
As you can imagine, no one is making any peeps about where this script could be headed. Considering the first film barely paid any mind to the oral accounts in author Max Brooks’ novel of the same name, perhaps Knight will look to that source material to mine some better material. I liked World War Z a lot for the entertainment factor, but I can’t deny the script from Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, and Damon Lindelof left a lot to be desired as far as emotionally complex narratives go. It was an awful lot of people running and screaming from CGI things that were also running and screaming.
It’s still rather hard to believe that it’ll be Knight behind this. He’s the original creator of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, for one, and also wrote David Cronenberg’s revenge thriller Eastern Promises, John Crowley’s mystery Closed Circuit, and Sergey Bodrov’s upcoming fantasy adventure Seventh Son. He’s a man of many talents, and also created the stellar British gangster drama Peaky Blinders. His latest movie, Locke, is about as vastly different from World War Z as possible, as it stars only Tom Hardy, his car, and his phone. Check out a trailer for the acclaimed thriller here.
Considering Knight is teaming up with The Orphanage and The Impossible director J.A. Bayona, World War Z 2 might end up being a better sequel than it has any business being. Watch out, zombies, because it’s about to get serious. Unless it doesn’t.