Brad Pitt’s ‘World War Z’ Sequel Loses Director Juan Antonio Bayona

Paramount wants to shoot the sequel this summer, but Bayona is still finishing “A Monster Calls”

In an all-too-familiar refrain, a big-budget tentpole’s rushed production schedule has claimed yet another victim, as Paramount will move forward with a sequel to Brad Pitt‘s “World War Z” without its director Juan Antonio Bayona, TheWrap has learned.

Bayona is currently in post-production on “A Monster Calls” starring Felicity Jones and Liam Neeson, and the director didn’t feel like he could finish that film before this summer, when Paramount is dead-set on making “World War Z 2.”

“Bayona is no longer able to make ‘World War Z 2’ this year, and it is our ambition to do so. He is a wonderful director and we hope to work with him soon,” Paramount said in a statement.

Bayona had been slated to direct the zombie sequel, which has a script by Steven Knight and Dennis Kelly. Pitt is producing under his Plan B banner, and Skydance is co-financing with Paramount.

“World War Z 2” is scheduled for release on June, 9, 2017, which means that Paramount has to start filming this summer to make that date, given the VFX-intensive post-production schedule.

The first “World War Z” movie also had its share of behind-the-scenes strife, as script doctors Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard boarded the project late in the game to fix its third act. The film went on to gross nearly $540 million worldwide, opening the door for a sequel.

Bayona directed the acclaimed horror movie “The Orphanage” before a wave of buzz from that film carried him to the fantastic tsunami drama “The Impossible.” From there, he landed the coveted job of directing “A Monster Calls,” based on the beloved book by Patrick Ness. Frankly, Bayona can’t be blamed for wanting to see that movie through to the finish, as it certainly has the chance to be something special.