World War Z was a movie that had a lot of problems during production, including scrapping the entire final act and reshooting it much later (by the end the budget ballooned to $200 million). The troubles were so pronounced that I was surprised by how well it turned out and how much I enjoyed it. (It still has some issues, but overall it isn’t a bad time.) A huge box office smash, a sequel was the obvious next step, and according to the writer, it sounds like they’re trying to get all the kinks worked out before hand.
Steven Knight had a solid year last year, writing and making his feature directing debut with the Tom-Hardy-in-a-car drama Locke, as well as continuing his old timey crime saga Peaky Blinders. Though he’s never really worked in horror before, the idea of him turning his eyes toward World War Z 2 is intriguing and exciting. Talking to Indiewire, the Eastern Promises scribe discussed writing the treatment and indicated that the follow up is something of a do-over.
He says, “I thought, ‘why not? What fun.’ It’s not quite like the other, we’re starting with clean slate. When they’ve signed off we’re on.”
It’s going to be interesting to see exactly what that means. World War Z ends with Brad Pitt’s character, an UN worker named Gerry Lane, figuring out how to mask humans from the swarming hordes of the undead. But it doesn’t sound like Locke’s story is going to necessarily pick up where that thread leaves off, though you have to assume Pitt will be back as the lead—he’s a big reason why the film works in the first place.
Max Brooks’ book that serves as the source material is framed as an oral history of the zombie wars, where an unnamed writer goes around collecting stories from survivors after the fact. You get a variety of different stories and snapshots from the war. Where the movie ends is an obvious first step towards eradicating the zombies, but drawing on this, there are a variety of directions where this movie could go. Perhaps it will even jump to the future where Pitt’s character travels around, trying to piece together what happened.
While it has taken some time to get moving, World War Z 2 is rolling quickly. Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) is taking over the directorial duties from Marc Forster, and the film should begin filming in October, with an eye on a 2016 release. Lets hope this is a smoother ride than the first go round.