Pitt's Plan B beat DiCaprio's shingle for rights to Max Brooks’ zombie apocalypse novel
"World War Z" author Max Brooks has revealed to MTV that Brad Pitt is attached to star in the long-gestating big-screen adaptation of his zombie apocalypse novel.
Pitt previously was set to simply produce the film through his production company Plan B, which beat out Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way for the rights to the novel in 2007.
Marc Forster remains attached to direct, although hopefully the studio will reconsider and go with a more creative filmmaker who has more genre experience.
J. Michael Straczynski ("Changeling") originally adapted the screenplay, which has since been rewritten by Matthew Michael Carnahan ("Lions for Lambs"), who just turned in his draft to the evidently pleased studio.
The studio is said to be eyeing a summer 2012 release for the film, which chronicles a worldwide zombie outbreak through the first-hand accounts of survivors.
If the book's story is kept intact, Pitt would play a United Nations bureaucrat asked to compile a detailed report on the zombie war and its horrific aftermath.
Like many A-list actors, Pitt got his start in genre fare, appearing in episodes of Wes Craven's "Freddy's Nightmares" and "Tales From the Crypt" and starring in the high school horror movie "Cutting Class." He played a vampire in "Interview With the Vampire" and a great-looking incarnation of Death in "Meet Joe Black," but since then he's steered clear of horror films, including a glut of zombie movies that seem to have brought the subgenre back from the dead. It should be fun to see him working outside of his comfort zone, and kudos to him for sticking with the project through years of development.
Paramount also has optioned the movie rights to two more of Brooks' books — "The Zombie Survival Guide" and "The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks" — so it's possible that material from those books could be incorporated into the "World War Z" movie.
Brooks apparently received the news of Pitt's official attachment while signing copies of the books at the Avatar Press booth during Preview Night at Comic-Con.
Forster is currently filming "Machine Gun Preacher" with Gerard Butler, while Pitt recently began shooting Sony's "Moneyball" with director Bennett Miller. "World War Z" could be the next project for both actor and director.
Pitt is represented by CAA.