One of the most ambitious blockbuster experiments of the year was this past summer’s sci-fi/horror epic World War Z, which starred Brad Pitt as a UN employee racing to find the cure for a zombie pandemic. Though the film made an astounding $540 million at the box office, it also had a notably difficult production period including numerous script rewrites and a ballooning budget.
So, it didn’t come as much of a surprise when director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) declined to helm a sequel to the film. Undeterred, Paramount announced today that they have selected Juan Antonio Bayona, the director of acclaimed frightfest The Orphanage and disaster film The Impossible, to sit in the director’s chair for the next installment.
No writer has yet been announced for the sequel, though Bayona will collaborate with whichever screenwriter Paramount nominates to prevent some of the same production woes that afflicted the first film. Brad Pitt has been confirmed to star and will also produce under his Plan B shingle.
Though he’s an unexpected choice for the blockbuster, Bayona does have some experience with big-budget action. The disaster sequence in The Impossible, during which a family of tourists (including Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor) witness the devastation wrought on a Thailand resort by a massive tsunami, was one of the most terrifying and powerful scenes to come out of Hollywood last year. I’m personally excited to see what he can do with a larger-scale, more action-oriented story.
Paramount has not yet set a release date for the World War Z sequel, though 2015 seems as safe a bet as any given the already-ridiculous amount of tentpoles stacking up for that summer season.
Were you a fan of the original World War Z? If so, where do you think the story will go from the conclusion of the first installment, which found Pitt’s character equipped with a cure and reunited with his family? Sound off in the comments section!