2:45pm PT by Tatiana Siegel , Borys Kit
'World War Z' Sequel Moves Forward After 'Jurassic World 2' Drama (Exclusive)
Paramount's World War Z sequel is back on track and moving forward with a new writer.
Dennis Kelly, the creator of the buzzy British show Utopia, has been enlisted for the latest draft of the Brad Pitt starrer. J.A. Bayona is squarely on board to direct, though rumors surfaced recently that his involvement was on thin ice after being eyed to direct the Jurassic World follow-up. Sources say there was little Bayona could do given that he has a holding deal for World War Z 2, but the Jurassic World 2 overtures helped light a flame under Paramount to keep Bayona happy and get a new script in motion with the fanboy-friendly writer. Skydance Productions is co-producing and co-financing the film.
Kelly will pick up from an earlier draft penned by Steven Knight (Burnt).
The first World War Z, which was directed by Marc Forster and released in 2013, was fraught with problems during production, with expensive re-shoots taking place after test audiences complained about the third act. But the movie, which was based on Max Brooks' novel of the same name and written by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard and Damon Lindelof (J. Michael Straczynski received story by credit), became a box-office hit, earning $540 million worldwide, and spawned sequel plans.
World War Z 2 is scheduled for release on June 9, 2017. Pitt is producing alongside Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Ian Bryce and Skydance's David Ellison.
Kelly caught Hollywood's attention after creating Utopia, the Channel 4 series about a small group of people who find themselves in possession of the manuscript sequel of a cult graphic novel called The Utopia Experiments, which is rumoured to have predicted the worst disasters of the last century. David Fincher and Gillian Flynn were collaborating on a U.S. remake of the series for HBO, but that fell apart over budget issues (HBO still owns the U.S. remake rights).