The Hollywood Reporter is reporting the sequel to this year’s zombie blockbuster World War Z will be guided by director Juan Antonio Bayona with lead actor Brad Pitt returning to star and produce. Bayona previously directed The Impossible (2012), a Spanish film about the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
In World War Z, a United Nations employee (Pitt) traveled around the world to reunite his family and help stop a zombie outbreak. The film overcame a troubled production to make $540 million worldwide and receive mixed-to-positive reviews from critics. The film had gone over-budget, and the idea for a sequel had been scrapped until the box office numbers came in. Also, tensions arouse between distributor Paramount and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment during the production of World War Z and 12 Years a Slave. News came down today that Paramount and Plan B intend to part ways at the end of the year.
The resulting fallout from the separation of Plan B and Paramount could lead to another troubled production for the sequel to World War Z, although hiring a proven talent like Bayona could soften the blow. No writing team has been announced but Bayona will oversee the process. The novel by Max Brooks upon which the movie is (loosely) based follows the zombie outbreak through eventual containment (roughly where the film ended) and eventual re-colonization of lands overrun by zombies. While no plotline has been revealed, it will be interesting to see if the picture follows this more dramatic storyline, or adopts another action-heavy approach, perhaps borrowing from the book’s American military offensive. Brooks’s book also deals heavily in geopolitical issues, and the movie could look to draw thematic weight by bringing in some of these plotlines.