World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks is one of my favorite books, easily the best thing I've read in twenty years, so I'm worried about the film adaptation. J. Michael Straczynski is writing the script with Marc Forster directing so I'm hopeful. Straczynski has done some great stuff in comics, including Supreme Power and Squadron Supreme, both incredible. Marc Forster is no slouch either, with Finding Neverland and Stranger than Fiction, he's certainly good at smaller, more intimate pictures. But Quantum of Solace sorely missed any sort of intimacy, all action with no story or heart.
MTV has an interview with J. Michael Straczynski discussing his adaptation of the novel:
"We talk about it as a thriller, the closest comparison being The Bourne Identity,” explained Straczynski, who’s also penning a Forbidden Planet revisiting. "Most zombie movies to this point have been small, focusing on a few people in a house. And this has got real scare. You’re in India with hundreds of boats trying to get out of there with a tidal wave of zombies. The scale of what we’re doing here is phenomenal.”
As for how he plans to adapt the novel, which is written from the perspective of a United Nations agent reporting on the events of the zombie outbreak through interviews and eyewitness statements, Straczynski said he plans to preserve that storytelling angle as much as possible. In fact, the movie will serve to show how the book was produced in Brooks’ zombie-infested world.
“The fictional concept of the book is that its written by someone with the UN, so let’s tell that story,” he explained. “Let’s show the book being written. We follow this guy all over the world as he goes on these interviews, and he has his own personal story as well. You’re cutting between the past and the present, how he got to this point.”
“It has that international feel to it, and because it goes backward and forward in time, we can cherry-pick our favorite moments in the book,” continued Straczynski. “Some of it is crazy in scale. It’s huge. It’s as political as the book was. And it ends with that book being completed.”
You can read the rest of the interview here.
Personally, I think World War Z would work better as an HBO television show, where each chapter could serve as an episode.