World War Z Plot Synopsis Likely to Upset Fans
08.12.11 by Ryan
Earlier this week, Paramount Pictures announced a release date of December 21, 2012, for their adaptation of World War Z, making the movie's theatrical run official. While this had to please fans of the best-selling novel by Max Brooks that inspired the movie, the version that reaches the big screen may have plenty of audience members remarking: "You should have read the book."
Set years after a zombie apocalypse, World War Z (the novel) is a series of fictionalized conversations about the world's reaction to a zombie epidemic, serving as a social commentary on the world's preparedness (or lack thereof) to a threat of that magnitude. The novel was almost universally praised for its original take on the zombie premise, one that can often be turned into the same, stale product. According to the synopsis revealed by ShockTillYouDrop, the movie version may be just that — a movie — and that's probably not going to please the novel's rabid fanbase.
The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.
As the synopsis points out, instead of Pitt interviewing survivors of the apocalypse, he will be trying to stop the outbreak, in what is clearly a cinematic change to the story brought on by the studio and/or director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace).
Initially adapted by J. Michael Straczynski (Changeling), screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan (The Kingdom) was brought on board to write another draft. At the time, this seemed unfortunate, since Straczynski's script had already received the seal of approval from Brooks, who called it "f**king brilliant" and "as good as the book." A 2008 script review from AICN called Straczynski's script a "horror epic, a serious, sober-minded adult picture waiting to be made" and "a genre-defining piece of work" and, as HugAZombie points out, the Straczynski script found a way to weave flashbacks of the zombie apocalypse into Pitt's research set in the present. Some of Straczynski's work may still be present in the movie, but not enough for him to be billed as one of the movie's screenwriters. The studio's press release gave Carnahan sole screenwriting credit and omitted Straczynski.
So far, the online reaction to the synopsis has been less than favorable, but it's still conceivable that Forster and company can pull off an exciting adaptation. Just one that isn't as faithful to the novel as fans would like.
World War Z is currently in production in the U.K. and co-stars Mireille Enos (The Killing), James Badge Dale (The Departed), Elyes Gabel (HBO's Game of Thrones), and Danielle Kertesz in her debut role. Bryan Cranston was recently cast in a "small but flashy" role and Matthew Fox (Lost) was revealed as part of the cast via some recent set photos.