‘World War Z’ No Longer Sounds Like ‘World War Z’

By  · Published on August 10th, 2011

When an adaptation of “World War Z” was first announced back in 2008 with Marc Forster at the helm, a major question was how they would take an oral history that recounts a globe-spanning amount of zombie action and turn it into a workable movie. After all, the conversations of the book take place after the war and deal closely with survival and societal themes.

As it turns out, the answer is apparently to redo the entire thing.

According to the synopsis sent out by Paramount, the movie will look a little something like this:

“The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Brad 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. [Mireille] Enos plays Gerry’s wife Karen Lane; [Daniella] Kertesz is his comrade in arms, Segen.”

Aside from nitpicking that they didn’t use the word “decimate” correctly, that description looks more than a bit different than the book…

Peter Hall over at Movies.com used a little webspace to rant about the dramatic change, and frankly, he’s right. I’m willing to wait to see how this develops into the film’s story, but this synopsis is miles away from the story of the book. It raises a new major question ‐ if you’re going to get fans of the book excited only to take away what makes the book unique, what’s the point? To make a movie In Name Only that uses the title as a hook to get people into the theater before switching your bait?

Why does the adaptation formula seem to be:

  1. Find something people like.
  2. Option it.
  3. Change that thing people like.

Now, instead of a slam dunk, Forster and company will now have to convince fans that this is worth checking out (and not just another zombie movie to add to the pile). That’s a shame. But what do you think?

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector Podcast@brokenprojector | Writing short stories at Adventitious.