I’m going to gush here. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to the big screen adaptation of Max Brooks’ fantastic zombie apocalypse memoir World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. I finished the book on Sunday and while I’ve never been a huge fan of the zombie genre (despite having seen many), the approach Brooks takes in weaving his tale into real world politics, solutions and dynamics sets it apart from the genre works I’ve seen and gives it a sense of grim realism and detail.
At New York Comic-Con over the weekend, Babylon 5 creator Michael Straczynski announced he was the choice for penning the screenplay for Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B. Straczynski even added a note that Pitt might star. While a direct adaptation of the book is a sure-fire ensemble piece, Straczynski noted they’ll have to coagulate the narrative in an effort to tie places and events into a movie-appropriate storyline , with a character the audience can follow through the film. As a book, WWZ‘s stories have no central character (beyond a non-descript narrator) and come from Japan, Russia, Iran, Israel, Afghanistan, India, Pacific Islands, the US and China.
Still, with all the non-linear story-telling that’s been successfully reintroduced lately, I don’t see why a linear take is a must-have. Still, Straczynski noted, "I’m being very faithful to the book, letter by letter when I can, and I’m on about page 70 right now and I’m really happy with it. I’m really pleased with it actually, so if that goes well we might go into production on that one."
Straczynski’ quote is what’s got me all anticipatory. There’s segments of the book which are nightmarishly visceral set pieces and would translate into fan-wanks aplenty when translated to the screen. Scenes including an undead army of millions versus the US Army of the future at a pivotal battle in Yonkers and an Indian shipyard burning in the night as folks scramble to escape the zombie onslaught that’s coming from land and sea, to name just two.
Like I said- I’m gushing here, but if you haven’t read the book, give it a shot (and buy it here). If you have read it and disagree, tell me where I’m going wrong.