Juan Antonio Bayona Deserts ‘World War Z 2’ Directing Gig
Men who abandon their brothers-in-arms during wartime are either tried, shot, or profiled in widely beloved podcasts. Directors who abandon their brothers-in-pre-production during World War Z-time probably just end up directing different, more desirable pictures.
That’s presumably why filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona has now withdrawn from the crew of Paramount’s planned sequel to the 2013 zombie apocalypse smash after having previously committed to helm the film, which will still be led by original star Brad Pitt. Deadline reports that the celebrated talent behind such films as 2012’s The Impossible and 2007’s The Orphanage has parted ways with the production due to scheduling complications, with slight delays on World War Z conflicting with his other commitments. (The director is currently finishing up his latest effort, A Monster Calls.) Despite this setback, however, Paramount still fully intends on shooting the film this year and pushing through to a June 9, 2017 release.
Debuting amidst a wash of tepid reviews, the 2013 original film still whipped up a whopping $540 million payday against a $190 million budget, making this property a most cherished feather in Paramount’s cap. Studio executives are banking on Brad Pitt continuing to have tremendous selling power in his capacity as United Nations investigator Gerry Lane, a combination between geopolitical diplomat and action hero. Like flesh-starved zombies swarming through a crack in the wall, available directors will soon be flooding Paramount’s offices in hopes of securing one of the most lucrative, high-exposure directing gigs currently available in Hollywood. But there can be only one survivor in this mad dash for a probable studio tentpole. The rest of the also-rans will be ravenously gobbled up, not by zombies, but by a fate even worse: studio comedy vehicles.