By Simon Dang | The Playlist March 22, 2011 at 1:21AM
Last we heard, the Hollywood adaptation of Max Brooks' acclaimed zombie-horror novel "World War Z" had Marc Forster at the helm with Brad Pitt set to star and produce. but little on that front has been heard for quite some time.
Vulture now reports that the project, whose budget is touted at $125 million, is in danger of falling apart unless Paramount can find a co-financier to share the load. Their number one target? None other than David Ellison (yes, brother to our favorite heiress, Megan) who is being chased along with another unnamed investor in an "eleventh hour effort" -- which certainly doesn't sound optimistic.
The Black List approved script for 'Z' by J. Michael Straczynski (with rewrites by Matthew Michael Carnahan) centers on a UN bureaucrat named Gerry Lane, who in the aftermath of the zombie war is asked to compile a complete report on the incident. Our fellow writer read the script and praised the "smart structure that keeps the nature of the book intact [which] should manage to separate the finished film from the omnipresent likes of 'Resident Evil' and 'Survival of the Dead.'"
It definitely sounds like an intriguing adaptation and a seemingly perfect fit for the recent zombie fad. Paramount Film Group president Adam Goodman responded to the claims noting that it was too early to tell whether a lack of co-financiers would ankle the project but asserted that the studio are "committed to making a big, kick-ass giant movie with Marc Forster and Brad Pitt." Vulture, though, present Guillermo Del Toro's struggles with "At The Mountain Of Madness" as a case for recent studio reluctance to back big-budgeted projects.
On the plus side? Forster has a deal to deliver a PG-13 rating which should make the studio -- and the open Ellison checkbook of late -- happy. In a matter of weeks, Megan has committed to financially backing a number of projects including a new Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze collaboration as well as Paul Thomas Anderson's untitled Scientology film and his "Inherent Vice" adaptation, while David already has a strong relationship with Paramount through his Skydance Productions who have backed various projects from the studio including "True Grit," "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol," the upcoming Seth Rogen-Barbara Streisand teaming in "My Mother's Curse" and an untitled collaboration between Shane Salerno, Alex Kurtzmann and Roberto Orci. Surely another $60 million or so won't hurt?