J. Michael Straczynski On ‘World War Z': ‘The Scale Of What We’re Doing Here Is Phenomenal’

When “Quantum of Solace” director Marc Forster was chosen to helm the adaptation of Max Brooks’ “World War Z” zombie-stravaganza, we noted that it was a surprising pairing — but with noted television, movie and comics author J. Michael Straczynski already penning the screenplay and Brad Pitt’s Plan B producing, the project was certainly developing some heat. Now, with “Solace” in its fifth impressive week at the box office, MTV News spoke to Straczynski about the addition of Forster to the already buzzworthy project and how he plans to adapt Brooks’ novel.

“We talk about it as a thriller, the closest comparison being ’The Bourne Identity,'” explained Straczynski, who’s also penning a “Forbidden Planet” revisiting. “Most zombie movies to this point have been small, focusing on a few people in a house. And this has got real scare. You’re in India with hundreds of boats trying to get out of there with a tidal wave of zombies. The scale of what we’re doing here is phenomenal.”

Straczynski told us the first draft of the screenplay was completed in the Spring, and the “World War Z” team had been waiting for a director for several months before Forster was attached.

“Now that Marc is here, I’m working with his notes to make one final pass on the script,” said Straczynski. “Our hope is to get it moving into production by the first of the year.”

As for how he plans to adapt the novel, which is written from the perspective of a United Nations agent reporting on the events of the zombie outbreak through interviews and eyewitness statements, Straczynski said he plans to preserve that storytelling angle as much as possible. In fact, the movie will serve to show how the book was produced in Brooks’ zombie-infested world.

“The fictional concept of the book is that its written by someone with the UN, so let’s tell that story,” he explained. “Let’s show the book being written. We follow this guy all over the world as he goes on these interviews, and he has his own personal story as well. You’re cutting between the past and the present, how he got to this point.”

“It has that international feel to it, and because it goes backward and forward in time, we can cherry-pick our favorite moments in the book,” continued Straczynski. “Some of it is crazy in scale. It’s huge. It’s as political as the book was. And it ends with that book being completed.”

Looking forward to “World War Z”? Think Straczynski and Forster are right for the job of adapting Brooks’ novel? Let us know in the comment section!