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Moriarty’s One Thing I Love Today! JMS’s WORLD WAR Z Script!

Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here. I am weary of all things zombie. One of the reasons I am drawn to horror as a genre is because of the versatility of it. You can comment on almost any social situation or offer observations on any facet of daily life using horror, if you just figure out how to bend the various tropes of the genre to your purpose. Or, if you want, you can just scare the shit out of someone. Either or, really. The best horror films are the ones that do both, and I think they are the films that not only endure, but that actually push the genre forward as a whole. Zombie films have certainly offered up some great examples of that type of horror film over the years. The Romero movies, for example. And there’s a film opening in limited release around the country right now called AMERICAN ZOMBIE that does some very smart things with the conventions of the zombie film as well. But for the most part, I am tired of seeing people make the same film over and over, and it takes a lot to get me interested in yet another zombie story.

When Max Brooks published WORLD WAR Z a few years ago, I couldn’t help but notice. It’s a beautifully written book that has a fantastic central conceit, and as much as I loved reading it, I was skeptical about a film adaptation. It seemed like it would probably be an excuse to do a big-budget lowest-common-denominator horror film. Hats off, then, to the folks at Plan B, which is Brad Pitt’s production company. They were the ones who optioned the novel, and they hired J. Michael Straczynski to adapt it, fresh off his success on THE CHANGELING. Now, with THE CHANGELING coming out this November as a Clint Eastwood-directed prestige picture, JMS is finally poised for that breakthrough in features that he hasn't had yet. I hear Eastwood’s movie really works. Now who's going to step up and direct WORLD WAR Z and turn it into the Oscar bait it should be? Peter Jackson? Sam Raimi? This demands a big name who can handle a big picture. This isn’t just a good adaptation of a difficult book... it’s a genre-defining piece of work that could well see us all arguing about whether or not a zombie movie qualifies as “Best Picture” material. The book is an oral history of the great zombie wars, compiled by a nameless editor as part of a government report. The book is all of his unfiltered data, since much of it was censored from the official report. That’s all the narrative that the book offered, but it was enough for JMS to use, and the result is much sadder than I would have expected. In the first five pages, we see GERRY LANE collecting stories, and the first two interviews are with a flight attendant and a border guard. Both manage to play as horror shock beats, but the way they’re told also sets the tone right away... JMS is after the human truth underneath the horror, and in a way, that makes it much, much harder to take. The world of the film reminds me of CHILDREN OF MEN on the page. Realistic but set in the near-future, in the aftermath of the zombie wars. We see a flashback to Gerry being given his assignment to write a report about “where the system worked, where it didn’t, how and in what ways the various organizational infrastructures failed.” It’s a politically shitty job because no one wants to know that they were responsible for anything that went wrong. Gerry’s hesitant because it’s going to take at least six months away from his family, just as the world is starting to right itself. He takes the job, and as he travels to his first interview, we see how hard travel has become. I hate going through airport security these days, but at least I don’t have to strip naked and subject myself to a blood test. Yet. JMS does a great job of etching the details of a world that has already faced its darkest moments and is now trying to put things back in order. His first stop is China, and right away, he can see that it’s not going to be an easy job. His first subject, Dr. Tsai, is supposed to be interviewed through a “translator,” despite the fact that he speaks flawless English. Tsai’s account of his first encounter with zombies at New Dachang is awful and horrific, and right away, it’s apparent that a combination of bureaucracy and military strategy is responsible for a sort of passive evil, and Tsai feels enormous guilt about it. He leads Gerry to his next interview, which leads him to his next, and one of the things that the script does so well is depict survivors who are starting to wonder if survival is a victory of any kind. There’s a story about black market organs that is just brutal, an off-the-record conversation with a CIA friend, and an insane beach sequence that I can’t wait to see on film. All in the first 50 pages. Right now, I’m dying to know who’s planning to make this film. I haven’t heard a director’s name attached to it yet, and that astounds me. This was already done, felt like, ready to be filmed, and I’m curious if more work’s been done since this April 2007 draft. But whatever the case, I love this script. Love every dark, somber, upsetting page of it. This is a horror epic, a serious, sober-minded adult picture waiting to be made, and it’s one of the best pieces of screenwriting craft I’ve encountered in a while. It’s not often I get excited by the actual words on the page as a read, but JMS pulled it off here, and I hope some badass filmmaker steps up to the challenge he laid down in the very, very near future.

Drew McWeeny, Los Angeles

Readers Talkback
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  • March 27, 2008, 4:28 a.m. CST

    Sounds Interesting.

    by Stranamore

  • March 27, 2008, 4:32 a.m. CST

    Love the book

    by m_reporter

    Hope mori is right, I really have a hard time seeing this material as a feature film.

  • March 27, 2008, 4:34 a.m. CST

    And the director will probably be....

    by JumpinJehosaphat

    ....Brett Ratner! Why? Because fuck 'em, that's why!

  • March 27, 2008, 4:42 a.m. CST

    I like JMS when he isn't ruining Spider-Man

    by IndustryKiller!

    Seriously, one of the worst Spider-Man runs in Marvel history. Looking forward to The Changeling though and I really hope someone directs this that's up to the material.

  • March 27, 2008, 4:43 a.m. CST

    Could be the greatest horror series ever

    by Cablecasual

    This is probably the one of the greatest horror books ever written, I was gobsmacked by the detail of how the plague spread and how the world coped and how the global politics came into play and affected the way the world fought back. Mt first thoughts on putting the book down was that this could and should be made into an epic series, but knew this would never happen, my only hope was that it would at least be a trilogy following the rise, the fall of civilisation and the final fight back and victory as 3 films (although that would make for one of the darkest middle films ever). That was all wishful thinking, but was happy to see it was being written by JMS (big Bab 5 fan back in the day). I really hope this is as good as stated above, the book deserves it and deserves a wider audience, many friends just dismiss it as pulp horror and refuse to read it....

  • March 27, 2008, 4:45 a.m. CST

    An Awesome Script Demands An Awesome Director:

    by Bald Evil

    Who else but Michael Bay? *BOOM*

  • March 27, 2008, 5:28 a.m. CST

    "fresh off his success on THE CHANGELING"?

    by tonagan

    I'm going to have to turn in my geek card, because I have no idea what that is.

  • March 27, 2008, 5:31 a.m. CST


    by drew mcweeny

    ... I apologize. <P>THE CHANGELING is a script that JMS wrote as a spec that turned into a fairly big-ticket film that just finished shooting. It's the story of a mother during the Depression who is ignored by the police when her son disappears. Years pass, he shows back up, and everyone's thrilled except for her... since she's convinced that the boy that returned is not her son at all. It's a true story, and one of the great things about the script is how far JMS goes to establish that in an age where "based on a true story" means less and less.

  • March 27, 2008, 5:44 a.m. CST


    by superzero

    How is the movie going to be FILMED? Documentary style? Or just plain old regular style? When I heard this was going to be a movie I thought it could work really well as a Ken Burns type documentary except with zombies. Should be good if they do it in a style that presents itself as differently as the book did.

  • March 27, 2008, 6:01 a.m. CST


    by drew mcweeny

    ... since that Eastwood mention confused two of you. It was a mighty awkward sentence originally...

  • March 27, 2008, 6:03 a.m. CST

    The Progeny of Mel Brooks

    by OnusBone

    Who woulda thought that Mel would bang Anne Bancroft, and their son would specialize in Zombie books?

  • March 27, 2008, 6:05 a.m. CST

    I really, really have to get around to reading this book

    by Tourist

    I keep putting it off, because, honestly, it sounds ass. Alternate history sorta sci fi zombiedom, long after zombies ran out of steam. Yet I haven't heard a single even moderately negative thing said about it, and tons of great things. But if the scripts great, and the film turns out to be, maybe I should wait...on a semi related note, I found the post zombiegeddon world of FIDO fascinating and underexplored.

  • March 27, 2008, 6:12 a.m. CST

    I would rather see a cable miniseries

    by Ironmuskrat

    What I like most about the book was the epic feel of the struggle against the zombies. It really is a world war, with stories taking places at all corners of the globe, under the sea and even in space. <p> However as someone mentioned earlier, to do justice to the material you really need to do at least two movies to cover the world wide scope of the story. I just have a bad feeling that any attempt to squeeze the book into a two hour movie will fail. <p> I think a four or five part miniseries would better cover the material.

  • March 27, 2008, 6:53 a.m. CST

    Moriarty, are the flashback re-enacted or

    by beastie

    are they supposed to be found footage? Is the film supposed to be a mockumentary? Just asking, because I curious as hell to see how someone would interpret this to the big screen.

  • March 27, 2008, 6:55 a.m. CST

    I don't care who

    by hallmitchell

    Yet I want a mexican born director on this.

  • March 27, 2008, 6:56 a.m. CST

    hopefully it includes

    by dutch75

    the pilot crashing in the swamps of Louisiana. In my opinion that was the best account in the book. For those of you that haven't read it yet, you've got to introduce yourself to "Zack".

  • March 27, 2008, 7 a.m. CST

    2 questions

    by Darth Sicilian

    1) Does the srcipt as written leave open the possibility of sequels? I always thought the book would be perfect for a trilogy of films each showcasing three or four zombie "events" 2) Does the current script include the Battle of Yonkers?

  • March 27, 2008, 7:03 a.m. CST

    Zack Snyder...

    by Abin Sur

    Hasn't he also been throwing around the idea of a 2nd zombie movie on a worldwide scale? Would LOVE to see a Battle of the Epic Zombie movies one summer, ala "Deep Impact vs. Armageddon."

  • March 27, 2008, 7:03 a.m. CST

    JMS: enough said

    by br1947

    I'll watch it!

  • March 27, 2008, 7:08 a.m. CST

    Read the script, totally agree

    by RenoNevada2000

    Mori- I read the script a few weeks ago and I loved it. Fans of the book are going to be annoyed that a favorite segment or two didn't make the cut, but JMS was writing a two-hour movie, not a 20 hour cable mini-series.<br> My only caveat is that the end feels like an echo of the ending of the JMS-penned CRUSADE episode "The Visitors From Down The Street."<br> I've never read the book, so the material was fresh for me and some of the events, particularly the winter encampment with Gerry and his family and some of the other survivors, comes off as both horrific and heartbreaking at the same time.

  • March 27, 2008, 7:42 a.m. CST

    I asked Mori a question, but I'll take an answer from RenoNevada

    by beastie

    I'm just curious whether it's written in documentary style or like a more traditional narrative.

  • March 27, 2008, 7:43 a.m. CST

    Could be to the next decade what The Exorcist was to the 1970s

    by Midnightxpress

    Seriously, great book to great film, becoming part of western culture as a result

  • March 27, 2008, 7:56 a.m. CST

    also..somebody film Keane's The Rising ASAP

    by Midnightxpress

    best zombie novel not called WWZ ever...

  • March 27, 2008, 8:04 a.m. CST

    Best horror book written in years. Go read it now!

    by HarryBlackPotter

    And no, I'm not the author. Seriously, it's such a compelling and frightening read (loved the story of the Jap kid trapped in a huge tower block after WWZ kicks off). Max Brooks makes Romero look like one of his zombies, really.

  • March 27, 2008, 8:05 a.m. CST

    Probably Give it to...

    by BoggyCreekBeast

    Mr. Rush Hour... Hollywood + zombies = no effort on studios part.

  • March 27, 2008, 8:15 a.m. CST


    by Phimseto

    ...I enjoyed "World War Z" but there was some extraordinarily hammy political stuff in there. Still, the book gets a pass because of the North Korea stuff. Proof that it really is better if you can avoid showing the monster.

  • March 27, 2008, 8:23 a.m. CST

    something moderately negative about the book...

    by bonkers

    "I am weary of all things zombie." I feel like all of modern American storytelling has been reduced to "this is such a cool idea etc etc". Well, i'm bored with cool ideas, because they haven't been paying off lately. The book was a gift, i read it because "it's such a cool idea" then regretted it because ultimately, how many storytellers can actually deliver on the big pitch of that cool idea? It's well written, and i don't disagree that it will make pretty pictures on the big screen, but ultimately there isn't much there. I own Shakespeare in Love and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, saw them in the theatres, was blown away by the storytelling and their "cool ideas" and haven't put the bloody things in my player since i bought them "because i MUST own these" 8 years ago. Raiders, oddly, the first time i heard the one-sentence blurb on that (an archaeologist seeks the Lost Ark of the Covenant) sounded awful, i couldn't believe Lucas was going to burn his good credit on such a dumb idea. It still sounds dumb, but no movie ever delivered such a ride. Please, stop with the cool ideas that set fanboys knees to shaking, gimme seemingly mundane ideas and mind-blowing storytelling. Surprise me. That would be cool.

  • March 27, 2008, 8:35 a.m. CST

    No time to read?

    by mmxstryker

    I highly suggest the audiobook. It won a 2007 Audie Award. It's voiced by Mark Hamill, Alan Alda, Henry Rollins, Rob Reiner, Carl Reiner, Jürgen Prochnow, and John Turturro.

  • March 27, 2008, 8:38 a.m. CST

    I second that

    by WatertownSurfer

    The audio book is amazing, but abridged.

  • March 27, 2008, 8:39 a.m. CST

    This has the potential to be an amazing film

    by Stuntcock Mike

    Knock on wood. The book is great.

  • March 27, 2008, 8:58 a.m. CST

    The dude who made Babel?

    by PotSmokinAlien

    Alejandro Inarritu might be a really good pick to direct this. applying his sledgehammer moralizing to reality is tough to take, i really didn't care for Babel or 21 grams... but applying it to a somber zombie movie that sounds like it's got a lot of social commentary going on-- that could be totally brilliant.

  • March 27, 2008, 9:01 a.m. CST

    It's Fairly Obvious: Alfonso Cuarón to direct!

    by Unlabled

    I mean, it does have the look and feel of Children of Men and Cuaron is a bad ass motherfucker. It makes perfect sense. Too bad this will wind up being a McG movie

  • March 27, 2008, 9:12 a.m. CST

    Great Read

    by Uridium

    I read this last year and it is really worth the time. Very well written and a great read! I hope they dont f' this up in converting to film.

  • March 27, 2008, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Zombie Survival Guide

    by 0dd

    I just recently got ZSG, my wife bought it for me. I really enjoyed how it was setup and I have been wanting to get my hands on a copy of WWZ. I loved how the intelligence shown through in the suggestion for weapons and hideouts.

  • March 27, 2008, 9:19 a.m. CST

    To shoot this thing...

    by mukhtabi

    Coming from the documentary film background at American University, I would think the best cinematic style for such a project would involve the Michael Moore 'show the interviewer and interviewee' thing, combined with HD shot reenactments. That's my two cents.

  • March 27, 2008, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Too bad it isn't Clint

    by Neosamurai85

    That would be pretty badass. At first I thought that this was saying he was directing THE CHANGELING, as in a remake of the film that made Wheelchairs scary. Though he's one of the few people out there that I would go along with such a remake, I'm glad that by making this film with the same title we won't get some jackass remaking it with speed editing and torture porn. All and all... good news!

  • March 27, 2008, 9:24 a.m. CST

    The more I think about it... Clint would be perfect for this.

    by Neosamurai85

    Think Flags of Our Fathers with all the darkness of Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven and... yeah. He really would be a cool choice. Maybe not "perfect" but a very interesting choice anyway.

  • March 27, 2008, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Michael Bay!

    by DaBUU

    Do your magic!

  • March 27, 2008, 9:28 a.m. CST

    asking again

    by filmweasel

    I also want to know how are the flashbacks going to be shown? I think the best way is just have the narrator meet the subject, ask a question and as the subject begins his story, we fade into a look at the actual events, not a "re-enactment".

  • March 27, 2008, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Ken Burns Style

    by filmweasel

    Somebody mention doing it Ken Burns' style, and I agree that could be good too, but only if you were making it as a super low budget. Where you mostly had interview footage, and then narration over some photoshoped pics and maybe a little handheld news or home made footage

  • March 27, 2008, 9:38 a.m. CST

    freakin' awsome book

    by krustytheklown

    Ive read alot of books in my years, but after just finishing world war Z last week, i can say this is one of the top five books ive ever read. brilliant!if they can make a movie out of this material im there opening night. as a matter of fact, im going to go pick up max brooks zombie survival guide tomorrow.

  • March 27, 2008, 9:40 a.m. CST

    To do this book justice

    by Slavestate

    I would have to agree with the Ken Burns style, OR do it up kind of like Band of Brothers style. There's lots of stories that can be told in great detail each week, instead of condensing it into 2hrs. Which I don't think is enough time for this book.

  • March 27, 2008, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Spoiler Alert! (If you didin't read the book)

    by Raymar

    Isn't China supposed to be a democracy after their civil war? Or is the whole submarine sub-plot left out? Cuz that was awesome. And also I want to see Bill Maher and Ann Coulter star in this as themselves.

  • March 27, 2008, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Well, you know Eastwood has directed a zombie movie before......

    by Milton Waddams

    It was called Space Cowboys and it was a piece of shit.

  • March 27, 2008, 9:43 a.m. CST

    The Book...

    by rutgersjaffo

    I enjoyed the book, but I don't by any means think it was 'brilliant' or anything of the sort. It was uneven, plodding, and really didn't have much by way of anything Earth-shaking in terms of style. It tells the same old zombie story. All it does is picks up the story from minute one and runs with it. That's all. Some of the things in it aren't even really fleshed-out that well. The South African guy's plan for the decoys is an example. What was so bad about it? Why did everyone hate him so much for it? How did that all even work out? We are never told these things. Again, good book, but not the great piece of literature some want to make it. As far as any movie EVER being made from it which will be 'Oscar material' is concerned...get real. Ain't gonna happen. It will be another zombie movie. At the end of the day, there is nothing new here: The dead come back to life, the dead eat the living, the living do not cooperate, the dead win for the most part. Sure i'll go see it, but for crying out loud, it's just a zombie movie, dude...

  • March 27, 2008, 9:49 a.m. CST

    I'd like to see JMS return to form

    by Funketeer

    He's much better when he's creating his own material than when he's adapting/ruining someone else's. His comics work has gone from great (Rising Stars, Midnight Nation, etc...) to horrible (anything he adapted for Marvel). Supreme Power was the last good comics work he produced and that was barely an adaptation. I'm looking forward to the Eastwood movie but I'm wary of this zombie thing.

  • March 27, 2008, 9:51 a.m. CST


    by RenoNevada2000

    The flashbacks are pretty much handled the way that filmweasel suggested they be- "the narrator meet the subject, ask a question and as the subject begins his story, we fade into a look at the actual events, not a 're-enactment'."<br> Judging from the various things from the book that people are asking about, there's seems to be a lot that couldn't be fit in. Off the top of my head, besides the stuff Mori mentions in his review, the only thing that is in the script that I recall that has been asked about is the Battle of Yonkers. And the way JMS describes it sounds insane.

  • March 27, 2008, 10:08 a.m. CST

    READ THIS BOOK!!!! and should i be worried???

    by Brians Life

    This is easily one of my favorite fiction reads of the last year (up there with TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE). <br><br>For those that have read the script, the direction JMS was going worried me a bit. Should I not be? I mean, my ideal concept for adapting this would be a Ken Burn's style docu-drama...not gonna happen....<br><br>Love me some JMS (other than his Spider-Man run), but I'm cautiously optimistic.

  • March 27, 2008, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Oh, and the editor in the book isn't nameless...

    by Brians Life's Max Brooks. He puts his name on the character.

  • March 27, 2008, 10:10 a.m. CST

    If liked book check out the audio book too!!!

    by Brians Life

    Looks like Max Brooks called in some favors from his dad for the audio read. It's abridged but the cast has Mark hamill, Alan Alda, Carl and Rob Reiner, Henry's entertaining and CREEPY as hell. Mark Hamill plays the solder from the Battle of Yonkers.

  • March 27, 2008, 10:14 a.m. CST

    Cell is clown shoes compared to this book

    by Brians Life

    I enjoyed Cell, but like most Stephen King it completely falls apart at the end. WORLD WAR Z is not a narrative and I gotta assume that dude up ther RutersJaffo didn't finish reading it if he has those types of questions. <br><br>It's a collections of interviews from supposed survivors and nothing more.

  • March 27, 2008, 10:16 a.m. CST

    This Could Be Amazing

    by smallerdemon

    I am hoping it is. God, please, don't hand this over to some talentless hack director. The book is incredible and haunted my thoughts for a long while after I read it.

  • March 27, 2008, 10:20 a.m. CST

    This book needs miniseries treatment.

    by Christopher3

    It's an awesome piece of work, but I doubt it will hang together as a 2 hour movie.

  • March 27, 2008, 10:22 a.m. CST

    Actually Brian...

    by rutgersjaffo

    ...I read it twice. Please fill me in. There are many such things which aren't answered in the book. Like I said, I enjoyed it, but it's not great by any means at all. Would I have loved it to be great? Absloutely. Did I hope that it was going to be great? You bet I did. Was it great or brilliant or genre-defining? Nope. Not at all. It was a B+ book, nothing more. You gotta be honest about this stuff. It's just not as good as some people make it out to be. I really admire what he was going for, really I do. But the execution fell just short of great. But again, if you can provide answers about the South African Plan, I would love to hear them. Of course, you and I both know that they aren't contained anywhere in the book, so...

  • March 27, 2008, 10:35 a.m. CST

    IndustryKiller! you idiot

    by messi

    most people say JMS' run is second to Stan. You are the embodiment of the aicn talkbacker. Maybe you didn't like his run but he knew how to write Spidey as a character and Peter too.

  • March 27, 2008, 10:43 a.m. CST

    Rutgers Jaffo...I'll concede SOME...

    by Brians Life

    ...of your points. That is, in the world of mainstream literature I DO think that it's fair to give the book a B plus rating. It's NOT a compelling narrative and it is just a collection of interviews...I'm a big zombie fan. So for me this was dish of the day, my friend. <br><br>I do have to disagree on your decision regarding the execution, if you were left wanting more than that's you...can't do anything about that...I never felt wanting for more answers.<br><br>I'm unclear what your question regarding the Soufrican plan was??? <br><br>Why did people hate Paul Redeker? Really? You can't see why the masses would want to hang a guy who's plan was to save a "small percentage of the civilian population" and use the rest as zombie bait to help the evacuating military!? We are also exposed to a different version of this plan on most national levels (Germany, Pakistan, the US). What else are u unclear about?

  • March 27, 2008, 10:46 a.m. CST far as the Zombie Literature Genre goes, Rutgers...

    by Brians Life was genre defining. I DO think it placed a high bar for most horror novels. While i said it wasnt a compelling NARRATIVE, I did not mean to say that it wasn't compelling.

  • March 27, 2008, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Seconded on JMS' Spidey Run....

    by Brians Life

    ...yeah, that was a mixed bag. I love his style and how he writes the character. I just fuckin' HATED the things that were happening to him.

  • March 27, 2008, 10:52 a.m. CST


    by rutgersjaffo

    One thing I am not clear on is how or why the people used as decoys needed to die. What I mean is, if the zombies were going to be attracted to these outposts, why not just kill them? I mean, the idea seemed to be that you leave these people in secure enough settings that they can survive long enough to attract the Zacks to begin with and then you just leave them there as a decoy. After all, if the zombies can just get at them immediately after they find them, they would just eat them and move on, right? So the places they were being left had to be fortified enough to keep the zombies out while the people were safe inside. If that is what was done, why not just snipe away at the undead while they are preoccupied with the decoys? Why would you bother to attract all of the zombies to one place and then just run away? How would you convince all of these people to allow you to herd them into such an area--especially after people hear about the plan? No way would people just stand there and take it. They would rather be shot now than eaten by zombies later. The whole South African Plan to me seemed like a plot device that was not thought all the way through. It's the little things like that which prevented me from seeing this book as more than a Blair Witch of zombie lit. But still, I did enjoy it and I am glad many others did too. I will go see the movie, but I don't expect a whole lot out of it...

  • March 27, 2008, 10:56 a.m. CST

    One other thing...

    by rutgersjaffo

    The whole 'Zombie Vaccination Drug' thing didn't really work for me either. No way that would happen. The FDA, even in a time of crisis, has some pretty stern policies which would have prevented that from occurring. Again, nice idea, just not thought all the way through is all...

  • March 27, 2008, 10:57 a.m. CST

    I thought that the South African's plan

    by shitstorm23

    **spoilers** <p> was to use the media to convince the mass public one thing, so that the zombies would follow them and wipe them out. During that the govt and a select group would go somewhere strategic to stave off all of the Zs, regroup and then go about cleaning up. This would kill off almost a third to a half of your entire population, which some might consider a little callous. Millions die now, so thousands can live later. It only makes sense, but still people kill each other over dumb shit, how would they feel about knowing their govt set them and their family up to be bait? <p> I thought the book was good at coming up with a real life look at how the world would handle zombies. I enjoyed reading how the infection spreads so quickly and how easy it would be to avoid them, except common sense is thrown out the windor during a crisis. It could be a good movie if done right, but something tells me it might fall short.

  • March 27, 2008, 11 a.m. CST

    Rutgers, If I may (possibly spoilers for those that..)

    by Brians Life

    ...haven't read the book.) <br><br>From the segment which took place in Germany after the Redeker one, I surmised that they weren't necessarily organizing survivors into strongholds. They were already there. From various weeks of runhing and trying to survive. The military was simply withdrawing to the designated safepoints.<br><br>I also understood we were talking about a ragtag military that was constantly withdrawing and outnumbered. At one point they mention 200 million zombies in the continental US.<br><br>The military needed to retreat, regroup, re-arm, change tactics....also remember that at one point the world seems content to merely "wait it out"....that the numbers are so daunting that they think they should just hide until they're all decayed.<br><br>Good talk...see you out there.

  • March 27, 2008, 11 a.m. CST

    Director, director, director...

    by TroutMaskReplicant

    Plan B might mean Pitt will star. I wonder how that would go. People give out for suggesting that Peter Jackson should direct everything large scale, but the guy who brought the world Braindead and the Battle of Helm's Deep might have something to bring to this...

  • March 27, 2008, 11:02 a.m. CST


    by rutgersjaffo

    I do agree that it would work great as a 3-movie epic. That would really allow the whole thing to be fleshed out. And again, with the South African thing, it just doesn't logically work out is all i'm saying. Didn't the guy say he was working on a sequel?

  • March 27, 2008, 11:04 a.m. CST

    agreed, Shitstorm...(spoilers)..and Rutgers...

    by Brians Life

    ...the general public was never aware that the military was going to abandon them.<br><br>And while they never say how many civilians were to die Redeker does say that the plan only accounts for "a very small percentage of the civilian population."<br><br>THANK GOD I LIVE WEST OF THE ROCKIES!!<br><br>Rutgers, you just named one of two segments in the book that I disagree with. The other being the former Presidential Cheif of Staff that is literally shoveling shit. Both come across as WAY too on the nose. And yeah, the idea of a corp. making a fake vaccine is brilliant, the execution was a bit off. Ya got me on that one, skippy.

  • March 27, 2008, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Fair enough...

    by rutgersjaffo

    If nothing else, he did do a nice job of going global with all of the breakdowns. And I really did enjoy the zombies in the water and the zombies thawing out in the spring ideas. That was a nice way of making sure that absolutely nowhere but the Arctic would be safe. Good talkin at ya Brian, see ya around...

  • March 27, 2008, 11:07 a.m. CST

    DUDE (spoilers)

    by Brians Life

    The idea that even when the world is safe, there are still millions of them on the bottom of the ocean....CREEEEEEEPY!!!

  • March 27, 2008, 11:13 a.m. CST


    by rutgersjaffo

    If nothing else, I look forward to that chaotic scene in India(?) when all of the people were trying to get on the ships and you first learn that--duh!--zombies don't drown. The idea of those ghost ships floating around the oceans filled with the undead was pretty cool I have to admit!

  • March 27, 2008, 11:23 a.m. CST


    by The Llama

    You read the book twice, even though you didn't care for it the first time? I call bullshit on that. Not to mention that the South African plan is at the center of all the nations' anti-zombie strategies, so I'm rather puzzled how you could make it through the book--twice--and not realize that the plan revolved around using people as bait in order to pull zombies into concentrated centers to easily wipe them out. I'll agree that the book isn't brilliant literature, but it's a tightly-written, well-conceived piece of work.

  • March 27, 2008, 11:24 a.m. CST

    Paul Redeker

    by Ironmuskrat

    I think he was hated because his "South African" plan was originally conceived as a way to deal with a uprising of the black population during apartheid in South Africa. He was one of those useful lunatics that people are forced to listen to in a time of crisis, but you would never allowed to have a say in a normal society. <p> If only the governments of the world had listened to Israel they might not have found themselves forced to follow Redeker's plan. But that is one of the things I liked about the book, there are no heroes in the story, just average people doing heroic things to survive and fight back.

  • March 27, 2008, 11:24 a.m. CST

    Thank you RenoNevada.

    by beastie

    Really hoping this project gets a greenlight.

  • March 27, 2008, 11:25 a.m. CST

    The whole FDA thing

    by shitstorm23

    was a little hokey, but I think he was going for a social commentary on how drugs are the first thing people look to in our society when something is wrong. I doubt that a drug like that would really get put through so quickly or at all. But making sense of it from a govt standpoint, getting people to chill out long enough to formulate a plan, made sense. <p> Brians Life - I never really even thought about the ocean dwellers! That is some scary shit.

  • March 27, 2008, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Love the depiction of Israel, Palestine, China...

    by Brians Life

    SPOILERS...the idea that even in a time of a full on zombie outbreak, the more ultra orthodox element of the Israeli population instigates a civil war over the repatriation of Palestinians and the decision to not include Jersalem in the border defenses is delightful. <br><br> Love the scene w/ the palestinian father losing it as his son calls him a traitor for wanting to accept Israels help. "You WILL go!!" Getting more excited about this flick...hope it lives up to it.

  • March 27, 2008, 11:33 a.m. CST


    by Brians Life

    Yeah, the book was ripe with commentary. I enjoyed the American housewife that was oblivious to the situation completely until it was crashing through her window. <br><br>The dialogue is tight too. He give the characters a real voice. Whether it's the grunts spouting off weapon tech babble like it's a second language or the guy who's just been put in charge of reshaping america into full on ww2 era war production. I got a feel for the characters that I dont get in most depictions of this type.

  • March 27, 2008, 11:38 a.m. CST

    The Israel thing...

    by rutgersjaffo

    Was spot-on, no doubt about that. And as far as 'calling bullshit' on me reading it twice, I did that just to make sure that I wasn't missing something as such. Same thing I did when I put myself through the hell of watching The Host twice--just to make sure it really did suck as badly as I felt it did after the first viewing. And again, my main issue with the whole SAP is the idea of getting the people to go along with it. Once word gets out, forget about it, no way it would work. Like I keep saying, I really liked what he tried to do, it just came up a little short in my opinion. If he had taken more time with it and allowed the book to be the larger size it probably should have been, I think it might have been better. Anyway, yes there was a lot of good stuff in it and I do look forward to seeing the movie--the undead rock!

  • March 27, 2008, 11:40 a.m. CST

    "One thing I love today" is very Reader's Digest...

    by Mister Man

    Vintage 1975.

  • March 27, 2008, 11:40 a.m. CST

    On that note...

    by rutgersjaffo

    Did any other zombie novel come out around the same time? Is it possible that he was rushed to finish this in order to beat something else to market?

  • March 27, 2008, 11:42 a.m. CST

    What about Iceland?

    by Ironmuskrat

    The ending of the book left plenty of material for a book sequel. The situation in Iceland. What happened in North Korea? How to deal with the new governments in the world(Russia and China). Not only did Max Brooks create a great zombie story , he create a pretty interesting post apocalyptic world as well.

  • March 27, 2008, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Impossible to make into a coherent movie!

    by jah_kingdom

    I read the book and don't think it can be filmed. A director should be very wary to attempt something like this. The flashbacks work in print but filming so many of them would be jarring to the viewer. Too much material to cover and just a waste of time to constantly go back to the point of view of the reporter. I'd take out the whole plot device using the interviewer and just show the events occurring in real time. If turned into a film I'm betting it goes straight to video.

  • March 27, 2008, 12:36 p.m. CST


    by thedoctor28

    I loved B5 and Crusade.

  • March 27, 2008, 1:17 p.m. CST


    by BenFerris

    I was actually reading the book around the time Children of Men came out. Having both experiences back to back made me get a clear image of what this movie should look like. I can't imagine someone better then Alfonso to do this movie.

  • March 27, 2008, 1:59 p.m. CST

    I see them going to

    by nolan bautista other than the man himself..ladies and gentlemen(dead and undead)..the director of WWZ..Mr.George A. Romero..

  • March 27, 2008, 2 p.m. CST

    Michael Stipe

    by waytaay

    hopefully he makes a cameo appearance as himself.

  • March 27, 2008, 2:05 p.m. CST


    by blakes7

    If you want to have an idea of how the movie would play out, just listen to the very well produced audiobook of world war z. It has some big-name Hollywood actors starring in it and it's done pretty good. The book would NOT make a good movie. It WOULD make a great mini-series like on HBO or Showtime. Sci-Fi network would just fuck it up. The one thing I did not like about the book is that the zombie plague is supposedly based on rabies, and that's fine, like in most modern "realistic" zombie movies. However, Brooks makes the zombies neigh immortal and practically indestructible.

  • March 27, 2008, 2:08 p.m. CST

    Zack is almost incidental (spoilers),,,

    by Mavra Chang

    The people and their individual reactions to crisis are the real focus of the book. That's what makes this book so great. Zombies or no zombies, when the end is near are people going to work together, save their own asses,find someone to blame without solving the problem, or just give up altogether? I thought that the characters were very realistic. How many of us would not notice the world had ended until no one was left online to talk to? Would the rich and famous turn it into a party/"reality" show? Would you feed your neighbor to your starving child or kill your children in order to save them? Heavy stuff! I would love to see at least some of the people from the audiobook in this movie. I do believe that I read somewhere that Max Brooks didn't know ahead of time about the all-star reading (that it was a surprise). I really want this to be a great movie and I also hope that Mr. Brooks has many more books to share with us in his future.

  • March 27, 2008, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Is everybody here braindead?

    by nolan bautista

    Give it to Romero!! He had a bigger version for Day of the Dead that never made it..he can handle this!!

  • March 27, 2008, 2:10 p.m. CST

    jah-kingdom, did you not read,

    by raw_bean

    Or simply not believe, Moriarty's script review?<p>If the latter, try this one on for size as well:

  • March 27, 2008, 2:22 p.m. CST

    the segment in the book..

    by nolan bautista

    ..on how celeberties handle the situation is fried gold!! Read it for yourselves!!

  • March 27, 2008, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Romero has lost it

    by drewlicious

    Diary of the Dead is just truly unwatchable.

  • March 27, 2008, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Romero fumbled the ball with Land...

    by loafroaster

    ...then dropped the fuck out of it with Diary. Besides, he's got his own take on the zombie, that wouldn't tie in well with World War Z's. I say they'll get Andrew Dominik onboard, which wouldn't be a bad thing since he did such a good job with Pitt on Jesse James. I still say it'd work better as a TV series though, as the movie will probably cut a shit-load out.

  • March 27, 2008, 3:12 p.m. CST


    by nolan bautista

    ..just make sure that the zombies look like they just came out of a morgue..those are the creepiest ones..w/ the stitches and bandages and wounds

  • March 27, 2008, 3:20 p.m. CST

    Please not Romero

    by Stuntcock Mike

    Fincher would be nice but...........

  • March 27, 2008, 3:45 p.m. CST


    by Son of Hades

    He's attached to another JMS-scripted project (They March Into Sunlight), but I reckon he'd be a perfect fit for this instead.

  • March 27, 2008, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Can we stop fucking hating on Romero?

    by kolchak

    You people perpetuate a lot of bullshit, but in no way was Diary that bad.

  • March 27, 2008, 4:14 p.m. CST

    Do It Ken Burns Docu Style Or Don't Bother

    by LaserPants

    Make it a cable miniseries or something like that. Yet another 90 minute zombie movie won't do it justice.

  • March 27, 2008, 4:15 p.m. CST


    by nolan bautista tell 'em ..i'll cower behind you and watch your back

  • March 27, 2008, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Being Contrary

    by Cobbio

    I'm sure the book "World War Z" is well-written, and I've been a fan (mostly) of JMS for years, but I'm tired of zombies. Tired, like, stick a fucking gun in my mouth and pull the trigger tired of zombies.<p> They're not scary. Not remotely. Not anymore. So many films have been made about zombies that they've become laugh-track charicatures of themselves. Seriously, zombies suck. As do vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and other non-existant "horrors" that seem to entertain humans so easily. I'm tired of the old tropes.<p> Remember when writers came up with their own nutty lifeforms to write about? "Alien," anyone?" Head busting "Scanners?" How about the creepy crawly "Thing" (both versions) or any of the hundreds of well-developed, truly scary horrors from short stories and novels that filmmakers are too chickenshit to take a shot at?<p> I like JMS, and I'll likely see "Changeling" this winter, but another freakin' zombie movie? Even if it's big-budget, with a great director like Cuaron, it's still zombies. Everyone knows what they are, what they do, the threat they present, and their history. Sorry if I'm being a party pooper here, but unless the zombies in Max Brooks's story are of alien or bioengineered origin, thus not typical Romero-esque zombies, I'm not interested.<p> Because unlike zombies, aliens might actually exist.

  • March 27, 2008, 5:52 p.m. CST

    zombies would be no threat

    by troutpencil

    Everyone knows everything about them already. Not to mention the US Army is monstrous; lumbering decomposing corpses couldn't do shit to it.

  • March 27, 2008, 6:12 p.m. CST

    The Book Was a C+/B-

    by Ckuouka

    It wasn't awful. In fact, I really liked it in the beginning and middle, and then the plan to recapture the United States just seemed too easy. Plus, I was very much bothered by the fact that the ONLY way to become a zombie was to be bitten. It takes a lot of the fear of death away, at least, to me. Still, if they made it exactly like the book, there's worse movies I've subjected myself to, I'm sure.

  • March 27, 2008, 6:16 p.m. CST

    The Descent Director would be decent

    by spidermanfreak20

    He did Doomsday. This might be the boost his career needs. Or Jean-Jacques Annaud would be perfect as well.

  • March 27, 2008, 7:34 p.m. CST

    imagine black hawk down

    by troutpencil

    If the Mogadishus had no guns and didn't know how to hide. Are they fast zombies in WWZ? If not, they'd suck even worse. The A-10 Thunderbolt uses a 30mm gatling gun that can fire, like, 5000 (depleted uranium) rounds per second, with about 80% accuracy, and it takes 2-3 rounds to totally destroy a tank. That is not a zombie fighting weapon, but it's an example of the kind of ridiculous overkill that modern warfare is all about.

  • March 27, 2008, 8 p.m. CST

    *not per second

    by troutpencil

    Per minute.

  • March 27, 2008, 8:04 p.m. CST

    script sounds good

    by Live.

    but who to direct? The obvious answer is naturally Michael Bay!<p> You know that would own your ass!

  • March 27, 2008, 10 p.m. CST

    Zombie Survial Book is awesome: Not done for laughs, very seriou

    by Stormwatcher

    I have it at work. Most people laugh or think I am a geek which I am, but then they read a bit of it and see that its not some BS joke but a straight faced, what you should do, which is funny but at the same time, smart. I like to tell people its a great, worst case scenario book that can be used to look at regular problems from a different angle. Course I just love me some Zombies huge. That said having a baby I would HATE to see a Zombie Baby onscreen as that would F me up huge.

  • March 27, 2008, 10:41 p.m. CST

    Another Rec For The AudioBook

    by Saluki

    Faaantastic audio book. Really gets in the mood with the spooky interludes. Everything is fine, but they take you back and it just sounds like hell from time to time. The imagery used to describe India sounds like chaos incarnate.

  • March 27, 2008, 11:14 p.m. CST

    favorite scenes SPOILERS

    by treewarrior

    number one: the chapter detailing how all the Hollywood casting directors and agents and talent coordinators are forced to learn how to fix toilets and make shoes. Priceless! number two: the chapter on how the army incorporated dogs into the zombie fighting strategy. the part where the army dog handler is going crazy while her dog is being ripped to shreds by the zombies was tragic, emotional and brought a tear to this dog lover's eye. hope they include both scenes into the movie.

  • March 28, 2008, 12:04 a.m. CST

    "One thing I love today" Retarded

    by Mister Man

  • March 28, 2008, 2:06 a.m. CST

    This could be great

    by samsquanch

    I loved the book.

  • March 28, 2008, 2:30 a.m. CST

    Troutpencil...did u read WWZ?

    by Brians Life

    Wasn't clear...if you didn't, you should. There are sections that would be right up your alley. <br><br>I loved the descriptions of how the Military's overkill mentality is what fucked them. The Family of Latrines line cracks me up..."why? when all the toilets in all the houses where still flushing!?"<br><br>Funny. I always thought that a full scale zombie invasion would HALT at America's fighting power...but Brook's does a good job depicting how truly hard it is to just kill a massive amount of these fuckers w/o nuking a city.<br><br>I'm high as a fucking KITE!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  • March 28, 2008, 3:50 a.m. CST

    JMS is complete garbage. This movie will blow.

    by Darksider

    Babylon 5 sucked. Rising Stars sucked. He basically ended Spider-man in the comics. Now he's going to ruin this book too. What, was Akiva Goldsman too busy to ruin it?

  • March 28, 2008, 7:25 a.m. CST

    "You think it's that simple?"

    by stabbim

    <P>"You think after being trained to aim for the center mass your whole military career, you can suddenly make an expert head shot every time? You think in that straitjacket and suffocation hood it's easy to recharge a clip or clear a weapon jam? You think after watching all the wonders of modern warfare fall flat on their hi-tech hyper ass, and after already living through three months of the Great Panic and watching everything you knew as reality being eaten alive by an enemy that wasn't even supposed to exist, that you can keep a cool fucking head and a steady fucking trigger finger? </p> <p>Well, we did. We still managed to do our job and make Zack pay for every fucking inch." </p> Goddamn, I love that book. No idea if it could ever work as a film, though.

  • March 28, 2008, 9:50 a.m. CST

    If you read the book there's something for everyone.

    by thareign23

    i would love to see the book as a miniseries ala band of brothers , hbo get on this . I also wouldnt mind seeing a balls out movie based around the book ....its just too much that i love that will probably be left out !! And the sap was realistically the only way to survive . The army needed to regroup because as the book says the zacks can do total warfare and be behind it 100 % of the time humans can't . Plus they had to weed out the infected. finally the army could lose that was brillant in the book. After the Iraq incident the American spirit was diminished

  • March 28, 2008, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Liked the book, but it is unfilmable...

    by Kid Z

    ...unless they pulled a Wanted and changed everything about it, including it's central conceit. Oh well. Favorite scene: A bunch of rich Hollywood types, including a "spoiled whore who's famous only for being a spoiled whore" secure themselves a mercenary-protected luxury bunker to ride out the zombie menace. They also decide to set up web cams and broadcast everything a la Big Brother. When the shit hits the fans, it's not zombies attacking but desperate average citizens who blast through the walls and show no mercy. It's all told from the POV of one of the mercs who relates deciding to bug out and seeing the spoiled whore's rat dog doing the same, "We just stopped and looked at each other for a moment. I was like 'Where's your master?' 'Where's yours?' 'Fuck 'em!' and we both escaped out the back door."

  • March 28, 2008, 12:20 p.m. CST

    you owned me xiphos

    by troutpencil

    I was going from memory, and only because the idea of that thing really intimidated me when I heard about it. I didn't want to look something up and achieve encyclopedic accuracy as if I was actually that educated on the subject, because I am not. But I did know that Mogadishu is in Somalia, I just wanted to call them either "Mogadishans" or "Mogadishus", "Mogadishans" sounds more likely today than it did yesterday. I think my skepticism may be sort of irrelevant having not read the book, and I may read it, but I still call bullshit on that conceit. Based on every zombie movie I've ever seen, the menace they present is overestimated. It has always bugged me about zombie movies and the book seems to me like Brooks is trying to cover for that mistake in the genre he is fond of. Can the zombies in the book climb? That would be a big boon to their tactics, because they can't do that in most movies. Which means you could sit on top of your house with a rifle and scope and kill hundreds of them. If they were climbers, though, you'd have to sit on a chimney or something more difficult, but the same idea. I dispute Brooks' idea that a machete is better because "you don't have to reload" or whatever he said in the survival guide, which I assume is presented in the novel. It is harder, for me personally, to swing any sort of heavy weapon (machete's aren't that heavy I know) with enough accuracy than it is for me to hit anything with a rifle, and since all the zombies can do is bite you, I would rather use the rifle. And your rifle's not going to get stuck in a zombie's body.

  • March 28, 2008, 1:35 p.m. CST

    imagine if we put a laser beam welder

    by troutpencil

    On the side of a doorway, about average headheight, maybe a couple to cover different heights. We could even set them up with a sort of motion censor device. As stupid as zombies are, they would walk right into that fucking laser every single time. All you'd have to do is set up a slip and slide or something inside the doorway to pull their bodies out of the way, and stand at the ready with a shotgun in case a child zombie or wilt chamberlain zombie showed up. You wouldn't even need a laser to trick goddamn zombies. You could just make a little tunnel and some kind of mechanism, using pistons, ropes and pulleys, whatever, to make a sawblade shoot out in the tunnel at head height every few seconds. Zombies are dumb and would fall for it. These kinds of ideas are easy to come by, and they're not that hard to implement (the laser welder one would be, I guess you'd have to live near an auto factory or something for that one). I think everyone has ideas like this concerning zombies. Everyone has at some point considered what kind of havoc they would reign down on zombies if they ever got the chance, and I am sure many of those people are in the US military. The issue of zombies being pussies has always bothered me, and I think I have become finally interested in checking out this book. I never wanted to read it because of the narrative style, but I'll see if Brooks' can do anything to counter my longheld feelings of disbelief.

  • March 28, 2008, 1:36 p.m. CST

    last comment sounds like a diary entry

    by troutpencil

    I'm talking to myself.

  • March 31, 2008, 11:30 a.m. CST

    "...that's all the narrative that the book offered..."

    by reverend jack sayer

    Moriarty, did you even read the book? there's plenty of narrative there, just not in the context of a conventional fictional story. also, JMS wasn't "after the human truth underneath the horror"... MAX BROOKS was. i get the distinct feeling you haven't even cracked it open.

  • March 31, 2008, 11:31 a.m. CST


    by reverend jack sayer

    yes, the audiobook is great. and i hesitate to agree with the Ken Burns thing. that would be awesome, but this sounds like it could work too. however, i do believe it should be done as a miniseries for HBO rather than a theatrical feature.

  • April 19, 2009, 11:32 a.m. CST

    Michael Bay

    by WhiteRhino

    Michael Bay shouldn't be allowed anywhere near this project. He would turn it into a hollow shell of a story devoid of the social commentary and intelligence that make the book so compelling. There is no question that he would dumb it down to the lowest common denominator just to sell more tickets.

  • April 21, 2009, 3:05 p.m. CST


    by orcus

    Awesome verizon ad

  • Sept. 20, 2009, 5:51 p.m. CST

    replying to bonker's comment

    by EnronScandal

    i understand where you are coming from...America does love to just take a "cool idea" and run with it! like...say Spider-man 3. wouldn't it be cool to see Sandman on the big screen? yeah! what about Venom? yeah! but cramming them in the same movie was NOT a good idea! i'm tired of potential being lost because the movie landed in the wrong hands! now...World War Z has great potential...the book was an instant classic in my mind! i couldn't stop reading it and i was bummed when i was done cuz there was no more reading. it has potential to be great but it cannot land in the wrong hands! i'd be sad if it was botched.

  • Sept. 21, 2009, 8:36 a.m. CST

    Dang! still life here

    by orcus

    In a Zombie thread no less

  • July 22, 2010, 10:07 a.m. CST


    by OSAMP1

    I told ya