The 2013 film adaptation (boy is that word employed loosely here) of Max Brooks’s World War Z was one of the more notoriously troubled productions in recent years, beset with production tensions, cost and schedule overruns, shifting release dates, and a full rewrite/reshoot of its third act. But it made a shitload of money, so of course they’re making a sequel – and this time, the drama is already beginning with the selection of a director.
Before Z 1’s release, Paramount and director Marc Forster were already talking sequel (and threequel). But Pitt and Forster spent much of that strained production wanting badly to kill each other, and if only one was staying on for the sequel, well. Forster’s replacement was announced all the way back in December of 2013: Juan Antonio Bayona, director of The Orphanage and The Impossible. But then he left the project in January, “because of pre-existing film commitments” (wink, wink). Pitt has spent the rest of the year courting new directors, with the film’s June 2017 release date looming, and now Variety reports he’s set his sights on David Fincher.
“According to sources,” Justin Kroll writes, “Fincher and Pitt met two weeks ago to discuss the possibility of Fincher boarding the zombie tentpole. The talks were initially lukewarm, but sources now tell Variety that negotiations are much further down the road.”
Pitt and Fincher clearly have a fruitful creative partnership going – Pitt previously starred in Fincher’s Seven, Fight Club, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. And I don’t doubt for a second he’d love to have David Fincher direct his zombie franchise sequel. I’d love David Fincher to come over and hang out and watch Hitchcock movies with me! But that’s only slightly less probable than him taking over the World War Z franchise.
Let’s all remember that Fincher’s only directed a sequel to someone else’s movie once (in fact, it’s the only time he’s directed a sequel, period): his debut feature Alien 3, an experience that all evidence would indicate he’s not eager to repeat. And “all evidence” doesn’t just include his miserable experience on that film; he turned down the chance to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and spent considerable time developing Mission: Impossible III before dropping out of that project to work on Zodiac.
Add into that the number of films that Fincher’s been attached to but didn’t make over the years – Jobs, Black Hole, Chemical Pink , 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – and this one looks even more unlikely. It’s not that Fincher is flaky, or leaves a particularly high number of unmade movies in his wake; it’s that with a director of his prestige, every possible movie, no mater how likely or unlikely his involvement, is breathlessly reported as gospel. And that’s what this sounds like.
Of course, now that I’ve made the case for why it’ll never happen, he’ll totally do it.