'World War Z' Sequel Moving Forward

World War Z

It had an infamously difficult birth, but World War Z racked up more than $500 million in theatrical grosses, so Paramount is doing the only thing it can do: moving forward with a follow-up. And now, in addition to a leading man and new director, that sequel has a screenwriter.

Variety reports that the studio has hired Oscar nominee Steven Knight to handle the script for the project, which has director J.A. Bayona (The Impossible) attached and Brad Pitt committed to reprise his role as zombie-slaying UN emissary Gerry Lane. According to the report, "Plot details are unknown, but the film is expected to continue the story of Max Brooks’ popular novel."

As most filmgoers no doubt recall, Marc Forster directed the first World War Z, which was dogged by last-minute rewrites, additional shooting, an embarrassing weapons raid on a Budapest set, and rumors that Pitt wouldn't even speak to Forster after weeks of disagreements ruptured their relationship. Reviews were somewhat lukewarm, but positive on the whole -- and although the oral history format of Brooks' novel will likely prove just as unhelpful this time around as it did with the original, the first film's ending was completely open-ended.

Bayona's experience on the set of the disaster thriller The Impossible should help him wield the global horror of World War Z, and if he finds himself in a pinch, he can always turn to Knight, who earned raves earlier this year for his directorial efforts on the Tom Hardy drama Locke.

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Jeff is an entertainment writer and editor whose work currently appears at a variety of sites, including Rotten Tomatoes, Paste, American Songwriter, Popdose, Dadnabbit, Diffuser, and Ultimate Classic Rock.

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