The World War Z movie adaptation has traveled a pothole-ridden road on its journey to the big screen. Things started off rough as the project lingered in pre-production limbo for around two and a half years, before (nearly) falling apart due to a lack of funding. However, financiers like Skydance Productions (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) finally stepped in, preventing the WWZ movie from suffering a complete collapse – and pushing it on down the production pipeline, towards a Winter 2012 theatrical release.
WWZ was then delayed until Summer 2013, which did not (initially) seem like a big deal; that is, until recently, when reports emerged that the film will undergo a substantial seven extra weeks of photography.
An early draft of the WWZ script was written by J. Michael Straczynski (Changeling), who reportedly stuck pretty close to Max Brooks’ source material – which charts the history of humankind’s war against the undead, along with the rebuilding of civilization in the aftermath, through a series of interviews with survivors. The screenplay was then reworked by Matthew Michael Carnahan (The Kingdom). In its current form, the WWZ script is said to revolve around the interviewer from Brooks’ novel (Brad Pitt): a United Nations employee, who must race against time to prevent a zombie pandemic “threatening to decimate humanity itself.”
Debates about which narrative structure would’ve been best for the World War Z movie – the interview-framed original design (a la Interview with the Vampire) or the A-lister-saves-the-world approach (a la I, Robot), are sure to continue, even now that Lindelof is giving the script a rewrite. To clarify: with Prometheus, Lindelof is said to have proven essential to the task of transforming that film from a straightforward Alien prequel into more of a spinoff. However, for WWZ, Lindelof is reportedly going to focus primarily on cleaning up the third act.
Does that means Lindelof could potentially be revamping the conclusion to WWZ so that it gives rise to a trilogy more organically – or, conversely, refashioning the ending so the film is more stand-alone? Bear in mind, that’s pure speculation at this point; still, either scenario seems feasible (given the circumstances).
World War Z remains scheduled to begin its U.S. theatrical run on June 21st, 2013.