Interview: A Giddy Max Brooks Talks Brad Pitt, Zombie Warrior

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Last night, we got word that Brad Pitt will star in World War Z, the screen adaptation of Max Brooks’ epic zombie tale. Brooks broke the news to MTV at Comic-Con in San Diego and confirmed a rumor we hoped wasn’t too good to be true: Brad Pitt is a zombie guy.

Pitt’s production company, Plan B, purchased the rights to World War Z in 2007 and according to Brooks, Pitt liked the script so much that he decided to take on the starring role, playing an agent of the UN Postwar Commission who recounts the events of the Zombie War through a series of oral interviews.

(More on Techland: “I’m Just A Zombie Nerd” The Max Brooks Interview, Part One)

“My reaction was, ‘Get the f— out of here,’” Brooks says. “I was a little shocked, a little surprised. I think I’m now moving into happy time.”

Pitts’ casting is undoubtedly a landmark casting for fans of the genre. (How often do horror fans enjoy watching an Academy Award-nominated actor grace the screen in the next big zombie flick?) Even Brooks himself sounded floored while signing books on the Comic-Con floor. “It’s amazing news. I can’t believe how cool Paramount and Plan B have been,” he says. “They’ve been super respectful. I couldn’t be happier.”

When I talked to Brooks just a few weeks ago, he was still waiting to hear on future plans for the film, noting that it would be a tricky movie to do right. “You can’t do it cheap,” he said. “It’s an epic zombie book. Therefore if you have to do an epic zombie movie, well that kind of money scares executives.” (And who better to help studio heads rest easier than Pitt?)

(More on Techland: “We’re Doing Sense & Sensibility & Sleestacks Now” The Max Brooks Interview, Part Two)

Also helming the movie are director Marc Forester (Quantum Of Solace) and screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan (Lions For Lambs). The studio is aiming for a summer 2012 release. But, with news breaking during Comic-Con, does this mean we will get an appearance from the new leading man himself? Perhaps. Pitt’s partner, Angelina Jolie, will make an appearance today to promote her new movie Salt, which hits theaters Friday. Granted this is in no way a guarantee that Pitt is game to show up, but it certainly doesn’t hurt the odds.

As for having Brad Pitt step in for his fictional personality, Brooks laughed. “I think if it was really going to be Max Brooks, they would have chosen Jon Cryer, I think we look a little more alike. Or maybe Garry Shandling.”

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