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Don't be tooling up for another round with Brad Pitt and zombies just yet, fans, because Paramount Pictures has thrown a spanner in the works for the hotly anticipated World War Z sequel. With Paramount pulling the sequel from its 2017 schedule, and with no further release date, it looks like someone has administered an anti-virus to the project; however, with the film seemingly facing extinction, could there be a director in shining armor here to help? Following the first film's release in 2013, World War Z 2 has been "plagued" with problems, but don't get yourself in a pandemic just yet, reports are swirling that Se7en's #DavidFincher is "very creatively interested in directing the movie,” leaving the ball in #Paramount's court. Your serve, Hollywood!
Brad Pitt has previously said that he would love to return to #WorldWarZ under the tutelage of Fincher as a director, reigniting their last bromance from 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Everyone has their list of dream directors, but it is relatively rare that the likes of Spielberg and Nolan would listen to fans, but Fincher is definitely the man to sit in the director's chair and bring World War Z 2 back from the dead. This is why the man without the dragon tattoo should check his "zodiac" and "social network" to see that he is the perfect man for the job!
He makes great characters.
Perhaps the highlight of World War Z was that it fleshed out its characters while still taking us all over the globe. #BradPitt's mission, his family, and those around them, all became huge points against the backdrop of a crumbling society. For WWZ2 to stand any sort of chance, it needs a compelling cast of core characters. Looking back over Fincher's work, he knows how to create a sympathetic character. The duo of Somerset and Mills from Se7en reinvented your usual young cop/new cop dynamic, leading to that shocking finale. From Pitt's titular Benjamin Button, through to Forest Whittaker's remorseful burglar in Panic Room, Fincher is an artist at work. Most of all though, he knows how to make Pitt a great character; working together already on three films, Fincher has seen Pitt in some of his best roles.
He can do a survival story.
Away from the search for a cure, World War Z was primarily about the human race's struggle for survival, something of a forte for Fincher. He may not like to talk about his directorial debut (to the point of denying its existence), but even Fincher's work on Alien3 pitched a rag-tag band of survivors against the acid-spitting xenomorph, while Panic Room faced Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart off against the home invasion genre. Ultimately, even Fight Club was about Edward Norton's narrator surviving in his humdrum existence and the temptations of Pitt's Tyler Durden. With heart-racing scenes, twists and turns, and seeming moments of helplessness, Fincher can turn 90 minutes of being locked in a room into one hell of a film.
He can do emotion.
Marc Forster rightly didn't make his hordes of flesh-eating undead the focus of World War Z, and Fincher would be wrong to do so in a sequel. What he can do though, is make a seemingly dull premise into an emotional rollercoaster. The whole "what's in the box" from Se7en goes down as one of the greatest scenes in cinema ever. Too many directors would have cut to a bloodied Gwyneth Paltrow prosthetic, but Fincher left it where it was. Benjamin Button had action scenes, but it wasn't about WWII, Fight Club had the obvious fight scenes, but it was about Tyler Durden. World War Z was never about the gore, unlike some #zombie films *cough* Resident Evil *cough*, and we would expect a Fincher sequel to follow suit.
He can do humor (sort of).
It may seem like an odd inclusion in a film about a plague of zombies, but humor could also be a welcome addition. From the likes of "Mom, say f*ck" in Panic Room, to the flying keyboard letters in Fight Club, and anything Jesse Eisenberg said in The Social Network, Fincher can carefully weave very dark comedy into his films. While his work is hardly a laugh a minute, it intersects its bleakness with some much needed respite. If there was one thing that was definitely not in the original World War Z, it is humor. I'm not saying that Brad Pitt should've walked around the CDC in a clown costume, but Fincher could add a subtle layer to a sequel.
He's done it all.
As I previously wrote about why George Miller's varied CV makes him perfect for The Batman, Fincher slips neatly into the same category. From serial killers to a biographical look at Zuckerberg, Fincher is a Jack of all trades. More often than not, he is also a hit. His two most recent outings, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl, have been critical and commercial powerhouses. However, most excitingly, he can put his mark on a film; every Fincher film has the greyish hue on the camera that tells you, "Yep, that's a Fincher." There is a grim reality to his films that we are all at the mercy of someone else, so by already tackling decidedly dark subjects, who could be better to take on the end of the world?
Can he do sequels though?
So, not counting Alien3, how would Fincher do at picking up the reigns after someone left their mark on a series? Fight Club may have been turned into a sequel in graphic novel form, but there has been no word on if we'll ever get a cinematic continuation, let alone if Fincher would return. The rest of his back catalogue has all been standalone films, which have been his to do what he wants with. If he were to take on the task of World War Z 2, it has to tread that fine line between the original and the source material. Who knows, Fincher may have stuck closer to the narrative structure of the book if he had created World War Z, but I guess we will never know.
Fincher aside, if I were a bigwig director, I would take World War Z and tell the story of the outbreak from a different angle. We don't want any old director at the helm though; it may not be a bad thing for some (myself included) if we don't actually get a sequel; World War Z was a near-perfect standalone and the whole story wrapped with Brad Pitt's Gerry Lane returning to his family in Nova Scotia.
Admittedly, given the way in which Foster's film was so dramatically different to the Max Brooks book it was based on, there is a whole host of source material for one, two, or even more sequels. The first film earned a hefty $540 million, showing that the zombie outbreak is anything but dead and buried. Also, the chance of having Fincher direct a zombie film should have you positively salivating for brains. Whether or not World War Z 2 is really done, Paramount would be fools to let such a franchise slip through their fingers, especially with Fincher offering his services on a plate. As one of Hollywood's greatest living directors, let's hope he can drag this one from the grave.
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter)