Juan Antonio Bayona has departed as director of World War Z 2 due to a scheduling conflict, Paramount Pictures confirmed to EW.
The studio intends to shoot the sequel to the 2013 Brad Pitt zombie thriller in time for a June 2017 theatrical release, but Bayona looks to be tied up with his just-wrapped fantasy-drama A Monster Calls.
A Paramount spokesperson said in a statement, “Because of pre-existing film commitments, Bayona is not able to make [the sequel] this year, and it is our ambition to do so. He is a wonderful director and we hope to work with him soon.”
No replacement director has been named for WWZ2, which has Pitt returning as star and producer. Dennis Kelly wrote the most recent draft of the script.
This isn’t the first time the World War Z franchise has hit a setback. The original film endured a tumultuous production, including a complete overhaul of the third act, but it went on to gross more than $500 million at the worldwide box office.
Category: World War Z 2
British writer Dennis Kelly has been hired to write a new draft of the script for Paramount’s Brad Pitt sequel “World War Z 2.”
The project is scheduled for release on June 9, 2017. Pitt is producing with Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Ian Bryce.
Spanish director J.A. Bayona (“The Impossible”) is attached to direct. The previous draft had been written by Steven Knight.
Paramount Pictures has set a June 9, 2017, release date for the sequel to “World War Z.”
Variety reported a year ago that the studio had hired Steven Knight to write the sequel, which is co-financed by Skydance. J.A. Bayona (“The Impossible”) will direct the zombie tentpole with Brad Pitt returning in the starring role.
Plot details for the film, based on Max Brooks’ novel, have been kept under wraps. Pitt will produce the tentpole alongside Jeremy Kleiner and Dede Gardner for Plan B.
“World War Z,” directed by Marc Forster, earned more than $540 million worldwide in 2013 and became the highest-grossing film of Pitt’s career.
The sequel is the second title dated for June 9, 2017. Fox has also set “Fantastic Four 2? for the same date.
Will WORLD WAR Z 2 be a completely different monster from the first movie? That could be the takeaway based on this interesting statement from the sequel’s screenwriter Steven Knight.
In an interview with Thompson on Hollywood, the Oscar-nominated scribe explains why he took the gig and how it differs from Marc Forster’s original:
“I thought, ‘why not? What fun.’ It’s not quite like the other, we’re starting with clean slate. When they’ve signed off we’re on.”
To me, “clean slate” indicates we won’t be picking up with Brad Pitt’s character, who at the end of the first film was happily reunited with his family after his long, arduous search for a zombie cure. But does it really make sense to make another WORLD WAR Z without Pitt front and center? (His production company, Plan B, will still produce.)
The article also notes that the film is “set to shoot in October for 2016 release.” J.A. Bayona is directing.
While “World War Z” is now viewed as the modern-day runaway film project and all that implies of ego—hubris, irresponsibility and whatnot—the project began with the best of intentions. Brad Pitt’s Plan B Pictures, the same company that developed and won a Best Picture Oscar for “12 Years A Slave,” wanted to try to create their own franchise. Pitt, a producer/actor with diverse taste, wanted a movie his boys could enjoy when they grew up. They hired a respected and eclectic filmmaker Marc Forster (“The Kite Runner,” “Monster’s Ball”) and talented writers—Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof—but the project went south on them regardless when they realized the tone and rhythm of an action movie is much more complicated than they realized.
And while the press viewed it as a disaster in the making, the movie’s $540 million worldwide gross turned out to be the opposite of a trainwreck like “Heaven’s Gate” (and in fact is the highest grossing film of Pitt’s career). And for all its problems, it really wasn’t that bad of a tentpole in retrospect, it’s at times thrilling, unnerving and has a genuine anxious feeling of real-world terror. It’s certainly not perfect and its salvage job doesn’t always work either, but you can see it’s good intentions up on the screen – to resemble the thinking man’s tentpole.