Could David Fincher Save The World War Z Franchise?
With the news that David Fincher is closing in on a deal to direct World War Z 2, I’m wondering whether he could make the movie that the source material deserves?
Marc Forster’s World War Z didn’t quite live up to the promise of the book. This often happens when you try to adapt a book into a Hollywood movie, yet World War Z’s problems were far beyond an average script and subpar direction. There were reports of on set squabbles between the director and its star, Brad Pitt, and the whole final third went through reshoots, which doesn’t tend to be a good sign. It ended up being a disjointed and unremarkable film, yet it made enough money to warrant a sequel, much to people’s surprise. It feels as if Brad Pitt really believes in World War Z as a big tentpole movie franchise, which is probably one of the reasons why he was campaigning so hard to get his old Seven (otherwise spelt as Se7en) and Fight Club buddy, David Fincher on board to help the project.
According to Variety, Paramount Pictures and David Fincher are coming close to an agreement, and it looks like Brad is set to be reunited with his dream director. The sequel’s been in a state of limbo ever since Juan Antonio Bayona left the project last year, yet Fincher’s name has been in the running for some time. Fincher’s last film was 2014’s Gone Girl, which was both a critical and commercial success, and was one of the very few occasions in which the film was just as good as, if not better than, the book. This was probably down to the combination of having a great director in Fincher, the perfect leads in Ben Affleck and Rosamond Pike, and most importantly, getting the book’s author, Gillian Flynn, to pen the script.
This had me thinking whether Fincher could do the same here with Max Brooks’ World War Z novel. There’s no question that he’s one of the most talented directors working in Hollywood today, his track record is outstanding. Yet that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll turn World Wars Z 2 into a resounding hit. He has delivered some relatively unremarkable films, I’m thinking in particular of Alien 3 (not really his fault in that film’s case), and most notably, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which was his last reunion with Brad Pitt, and I for one didn’t much care for it.
That said, Fincher is a master craftsman and World War Z 2 requires someone of his calibre to make everybody forget the pervious film’s poor showing. His tone, style and attention to detail would work perfectly in bringing this apocalyptic, Zombie-ridden world to life, yet if you’ve read the book, you would know that it’s actually a series of interviews in which people described how they stopped the epidemic. The first film lost sight of that.
If you’ve seen Zodiac and The Social Network, you’ll know how well Fincher can direct films in which there’s a lot of dialogue; he’s able to make people taking in rooms riveting. Could he do the same sort of thing here, or would Paramount Pictures want him to go down a more action-orientated route? The last time that happened, we got Alien 3. Let’s hope that Paramount gives Fincher and Pitt full control, which will allow them to make a engrossing film, rather than a incomprehensible mess of a film in which zombies climb over a wall.