Monday, April 28, 2008

The World will end with Z

Do you guys remember when I wrote a post all about the black list movies of 2007? Its one of those really cool industry lists that turn up every once and a while, this one about strange and interesting films scripts that have been floating around Hollywood and are, or are about to be, developed for the big screen to possibly one day become major blockbuster films. The list is voted on by industry insiders and is basically a popularity contest for the most desirable films scripts at the time. And one of those scripts from 2007 that particularly caught my eye was an adaptation of a book called World War Z: an oral history of the zombie war.

As with The Road, a week or two ago I listened to the audio recorded version of the book World War Z, and as with The Road, I simply loved it and felt like I really had to share a bit. The book is exactly what the tittle implies, an oral history, or accounting of the zombie war, told a few years after the fact by the people who survived it. It's told in vignettes, playing out as a historical human interest document. These are testimonies of people who survived a globe spanning years long zombie war and tell the tale in somewhat piecemeal fashion, but always from a unique and fascinating perspective. The book, takes an interesting if somewhat improbably idea, brings it into a real world setting, and then presents it in a way that makes it feel even more authentic. The varied voices in the book tell different parts of the same overarching story with totally different styles, changing viewpoints, and opinions. But the structure is there, and the overall plot advances in such an interesting way that I almost felt like I was listening to an author who had really gone to the trouble of finding the people's voice so that he could showcase the human element and essentially liven up, what from the character's perspectives is a fairly clinical piece of recent history.

Then on top of all that, listening from my point of view to hear this story as a book on tape, I felt like I was listening to a documentary, with the authors voice very noticeably framing the structure and crafting our reaction to it. The voice cast is also absolutely top notch on this production and each story, or chapter if you will, is told conversationally by someone who's voice fit the character exactly. It includes such thespians as Alan Alda, John Tuturro, Mark Hamill, Henry Rollins, and Rob Reiner to name a few. If you have a chance I'd definitely recommend you check out the book, or the audio book (which even won an audio book award!) if you get a chance. I personally just rented it from the library and ripped it. Well worth the minimal effort.

But just to mention the film adaptation again. Currently Brad Pitt's Plan B entertainment has the rights to the film, based on a script written by none other than Bab 5 creator J Michael Straczynski. Since its not strictly speaking a straightforward one man starring vehicle story I'm not sure Pitt would be interested to star in it, but who knows; maybe the film script is a bit more linear, or perhaps it changes things a bit. I'm interested to see how this film really gets itself together in any way. The word is that the film is supposed to be ready for 2010, but until it gets a bit further in development that seems like a bit of a ways off and something that could be pushed as well. Here's hoping that the zombie war does come to the silver screen though. If and when it does it will be unlike any other zombie film ever, and I think that's a good thing.

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