By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com January 26, 2012 at 1:22PM
Whoever ends up winning at the Academy Awards in a few weeks (spoiler: "The Artist"), Brad Pitt will still pretty much be the belle of the ball. He's nominated for Best Actor for "Moneyball," a film that, without Pitt's perseverance, likely wouldn't have gotten made after Sony pulled the plug on Steven Soderbergh's version, while the star also has a nomination in his producer capacity for Best Picture for the project. His other baby of 2011, "The Tree of Life," also surprised many with nominations for Best Picture and Best Director, and Pitt may find himself with a third nomination if the Academy names him as one of the eligible producers on that film.
But Pitt being Pitt, he's not resting on his laurels. He'll next be seen in one of our most anticipated films of the year, Andrew Dominik's "Cogan's Trade," but down the line are two more projects from his production company Plan B, and as part of an extensive cover story in The Hollywood Reporter, the actor's spilled the beans on both of them.
First up, coming this Christmas, is "World War Z," the long-gestating adaptation of Max Brooks' best-seller, a fictional oral history of a zombie plague that brings the world to its knees. The film finally got rolling last summer, with "Quantum of Solace" helmer Marc Forster directing, but some fans were concerned by reports that the script, by J. Michael Straczynski ("Changeling") and Matthew Michael Carnahan ("The Kingdom"), was drastically departing from the source material. Would this just turn out to be a big dumb blockbuster? Pitt suggests not, telling the trade that he hopes it'll follow the best examples of the genre since "Night of the Living Dead" in reflecting the world around it, even while providing thrills: "I thought it was an interesting experiment. I thought, 'Can we take this genre movie and use it as a Trojan horse for social-political problems?'
And coming after that will be another, less multiplex-friendly film: "Twelve Years A Slave," the third film by "Hunger" and "Shame" director Steve McQueen. The film is backed by Pitt's production company, with the actor announced as part of the cast, but he tells the trade that it won't be a large role: "I'm only doing a small cameo, but it stars Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor, and there've been very few movies about slavery, certainly that had the impact of 'Roots.'" The film, written by McQueen and John Ridley ("Three Kings"), tells the story of Solomon Northrup (Ejiofor), a free man in the pre-Civil War era tricked into slavery, who only received his freedom when a Canadian carpenter (Fassbender) helped Northrup's wife launch a court case to highlight the injustice.
That picture will get underway in the summer, so will likely hit in 2013, while "World War Z" lands on December 21st.