Paramount's World War Z has been gaining notoriety lately, ever since set pics of star Brad Pitt started hitting the Net. The adaptation of author Max Brooks' 'oral history of the zombie war' has always had a question mark hovering over it, since the format of book involved a U.N. employee interviewing survivors of the zompocalypse about their experiences.
That's a tricky narrative format to translate to film. Director Marc Forster could've snagged some great dramatic actors for a movie made in the style of a faux documentary; however, a lot of people figured that the World War Z film would go the route of, say, Interview With a Vampire (also starring Pitt), with U.N. worker Gerry Lane's (Pitt) survivor interviews being the frame for flashbacks to grisly zombie war action. When fans learned the movie was leaning toward a PG-13 rating, they figured the aforementioned format would still work, only with less grisly zombie war action.
It now appears as though the World War Z movie will be a far departure from Brooks' novel.
We cited the Paramount press release for our earlier report on World War Z's release date, but it was other sites like /Film and Movies.com that first picked up on the bombshell packed in the film synopsis that came with Paramount's announcement:
"The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (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."
Clearly this is a massive change to the story. Brooks' book explored - among other things - how the world would or wouldn't be able to cope with a massive disaster like a zombie apocalypse. The sci-fi/horror premise was a great allegorical frame for a lot of relevant political, social and moral questions. This movie is basically your tried-and-true (and often failed) race-against-time action/thriller. You probably wouldn't even bat an eye if were to lie and say that Roland Emmerich was directing.
This "tweaking" of the story is also a massive change to the character of Pitt's U.N. employee, who in the book is a man trying to research the global catastrophe to try and gain some perspective on it and what it has done to humanity. In this movie, he's basically the reluctant hero who must overcome insurmountable odds to save the world (and just maybe... the woman he loves).
Look... This stuff happens all the time in Hollywood. Books, old films, foreign films, comic books, board games, toys - even websites - all have their likeness funneled through the Tinseltown machine before a lot of them get spit out the other end as flat sheets of cinematic bologna. Why pretend to be surprised that it's happening to this book?
The only question is: Are you still interested in this project? Or is it straying too far from its roots to be worthy of your ticket money?
Fans of the book: is there a particular scene or moment you worry will be missing from the movie?
World War Z will be in theaters on December 21st, 2012.