Almost three years after he originally became attached to the project, Marc Forster has at last begun production on an adaptation of Max Books’ global zombie pandemic novel, World War Z.

Paramount managed to prevent the whole cinematic endeavor from collapsing a few months back by recruiting additional financiers for the costly $125 million project. Filming is currently taking place overseas in the Republic of Malta, which is standing in for Israel – the only country that closes its borders and instills a nationwide quarantine against the zombie hordes in Brooks’ original novel. The production will also be moving on to the UK and Hungary in the future.

World War Z was scripted for the big screen by comic book author/screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski (Thor) and Matthew Michael Carnahan (The Kingdom). Going off their collective resume, the two seem well-positioned to capture the global scope and realistic tone of Brooks’ source material.

Based on the first images to emerge from the World War Z shoot in Malta, that is very much what Forster and his production crew have in mind, too. Chances are good that if you didn’t know any better, you would think the following pictures of Brad Pitt as U.N. worker Gerry Lane – navigating the masses near the outskirts of Israel and passing by corpses being hauled off into the air – were taken from the set of an authentic Middle-East war movie.

Check out said set pics (via The Daily Mail) in the gallery below:


Financial hits like Mr. and Mrs. Smith or the Ocean’s 11 trilogy aside, Pitt’s filmography is by and large composed of either more serious or artistic projects when you really look at it (case in point: Pitt’s starring vehicles this year alone include Tree of Life and Moneyball). Judging by the roles he’s previously taken on, Pitt has long been more interested in working as a legitimate character actor – and not just a handsome A-lister.

I bring all that up to say: Seeing him with scraggly long hair, making his way past huddled crowds (and piled zombie corpses) in these World War Z set images, it appears that Pitt will once again bring more than just celebrity appeal to the table.

While World War Z is being fashioned as a PG-13 Rated release, that doesn’t mean the film won’t offer a fittingly unflinching portrayal of the post-zombie invasion world. Brooks’ novel isn’t so much about the gory killing or undead carnage, anyway; rather, it’s a (admittedly, often less-than-subtle) political allegory that examines certain contemporary issues or concerns through the lens of a monster invasion tale.

Forster tends to excel more at crafting gritty character-oriented dramas (see: Monster’s Ball, The Kite Runner) than action-packed romps like Quantum of Solace. World War Z will be somewhat of an intermediary between the two, since it’ll definitely focus largely on the personal drama in the aftermath of the zombie war – but should also include flashbacks to the actual battles between humans and the undead. So hopefully the end result will be all the better for it.

World War Z is aiming to reach theaters by (possibly) Summer 2012. We’ll let you know when it has secured an official release date.

Source: The Daily Mail