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DEC
10
1 years

Paramount Finds Its Director for 'World War Z' Sequel (Exclusive)

Brad Pitt returns as producer for the zombie action-horror follow-up.

World War Z Brad Pitt in Rain - H 2013
Paramount Pictures
"World War Z"

Juan Antonio Bayona, who last directed 2012's tsunami drama The Impossible, has signed a deal to direct the sequel to Paramount and Skydance Productions' World War Z.

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Z, based on the novel by Max Brooks, was one the summer's surprise hits, grossing $202 million domestically and $540 million worldwide for the studio and Skydance. What was even more impressive was the movie's solid reviews in the face of well-documented problems with the third act that necessitated complicated and costly rewrites and reshoots.

Z starred Brad Pitt as a United Nations employee who travels the world as he tries to stop a zombie plague, all the while trying to communicate with his family.

The movie, helmed by Marc Forster, ended with a cure found and him reunited with his family. The original ending, however, was more sequel-ready, putting his wife in the hands of a cold-hearted army officer as Pitt storms the shores of America, cutting through a zombie horde as his reunification journey really begins.

Bayona was on the very short shortlist of directors a few weeks ago. He met with Pitt, who produced Z via his Plan B banner and is also producing the sequel, before getting the gig. No writers are attached at this stage, but Bayona will oversee the writing process.

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The Spanish director has shown an ability to juggle scares, drama and big sequences -- all of which Z did successfully. Bayona directed the well-regarded Guillermo del Toro-produced ghost story The Orphanage. And Impossible netted star Naomi Watts an Academy Award nomination in a movie that was both tender and jaw-dropping in portraying the real-life tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia in 2004. The movie was also a hit, grossing $180 million worldwide.

Bayona is repped by CAA.

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