‘World War Z’ Movie vs. Book: 4 Huge Differences
'World War Z': the movie and the book have little in common (Photo: Paramount/Crown)
"That's pretty much all it has," Brooks said in 2012, indicating that the title is the only thing Pitt's film has in common with his book.
Pitt's production company, Plan B, waded through a bidding war with Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way in 2006, eventually winning the movie rights to Brooks's "World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War" for $1 million.
Max Brooks, 'World War Z' book author (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
The film's now-notorious production troubles included having no fewer than four successive writers hired to overhaul the screenplay. Plan B first hired J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of "Babylon 5," whose early drafts actually sort of resembled Brooks's book ... though that apparently didn't fly with director Marc Forster.
"Marc wanted to make a big, huge action movie that wasn't terribly smart and had big, huge action pieces in it," said Straczynski in an interview with Vanity Fair. "If all you wanted to do was an empty-headed Rambo-versus-the-zombies action film, why option this really elegant, smart book?"
Straczynski turned in another draft, which attempted to pump up the action more to Forster's liking, but it was decidedly not well received. "They slammed the door so hard in my face it came off the hinges," said Straczynski. Plan B then hired Matthew Michael Carnahan, known for political dramas like "Lions for Lambs" (2007) and "The Kingdom" (2007), to rework the script.
Carnahan's pass scrapped the book's "oral history" structure of a collection of first-person interviews and focused on a single former United Nations field specialist and family man named Gerry Lane, who is not a character in Brooks's novel (well, he kind of is, but we'll get to that later). The movie became an action adventure about a man fighting off zombie hordes as he tries to reunite with his wife and kids.