Development Timeline

Early Development

  • June 14, 2006: A bidding war between Leonardo DiCaprio's production company "Appian Way" and Brad Pitt's "Plan B Entertainment" ends with announcing that Paramount Pictures has acquired the screen rights to World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, and that Plan B will produce.[1]
  • October 20, 2006: Author Max Brooks says he has "zero control" where the film is concerned, and that he wishes to see it as a fan instead. Brooks jokingly mentions Brad Pitt as a preferred actor to playing him...[2]
  • March 27, 2008: Ain't It Cool News reviews an early script that had been leaked to the internet declaring "This isn’t just a good adaptation of a difficult book... it’s a genre-defining piece of work that could well see us all arguing about whether or not a zombie movie qualifies as “Best Picture” material." - also noting that the film seems similar in style to the film Children of Men."[3]
  • May 31, 2008: At Philadelphia WizardWorld Brooks speaks of how pleased he is that sci-fi series Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski was writing the screenplay: “I am a HUGE B5 fan,” Brooks gushed. “I'm thrilled that they hired a writer who not only understands science fiction, but who also understands history and politics and emotions. The fact that they hired JMS is really cool.”[4]
  • November 19th, 2008: reports that Marc Forster has signed on to direct. In an interview with Daily Variety, Forster explains: "The genre always fascinated me, and when they pitched it to me, it reminded me of the paranoid conspiracy films of the '70s like All the President's Men."[5]
  • December 3, 2008: MTV Movies Blog quotes writer J. Michael Straczynski as drawing a comparison between W.W.Z. and The Bourne Identity.[6]
  • March 6, 2009: Despite J. Michael Straczynski previous hopes that production would begin in early 2009, director Marc Forster tells IGN that the project is still in development.[7]
  • June 15, 2009: In an interview with Migros Magazin, Forster mentions that the script is far from finished, and he might be moving forward on another project that is "ready to go."[8]
  • July, 2009: Max Brooks reveals to Fangoria that the script is currently being re-written by Matthew Michael Carnahan.
  • July 21, 2010: At Comic-Con 2010, Author Max Brooks announces that Brad Pitt will now be starring in the film adaptation, and that two more of his works - "The Zombie Survival Guide" and "The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks" graphic novel - have also been optioned by Paramount Pictures.[9]
  • March 21, 2011: Sources at claim that Paramount is seeking a co-financier to help foot the $125 million price tag, and will likely halt production if one cannot be found. [10]
  • March 29, 2011: reports hearing that serious talks are underway between Paramount and potential co-financiers in order to move forward with production.[11]


  • April 12, 2011: Bleeding reports the project is moving forward, and that cinematographer Robert Richardson is making preparations to begin filming.[12]
  • June 10, 2011: James Badge Dale enters negotiations to join the film as an American soldier who tries to alert authorities that the zombie threat is real.[13]
  • June 12 2011: Daily runs an article stating that some filming will occur in Glasgow, Scotland, but will portray the streets of Philidelphia.[14]
  • June 14, 2011: Matthew Fox and Ed Harris enter talks while Forster announces Julia Levy-Boeken is set to join the film. Lucy Aharish also joins the cast as a young Palestinian woman.[15]
  • June 17, 2011: BBC News reports that Glasgow, Scotland will be a filming location, and that it will be the largest the city has seen to date.[16]
  • June 30 2011: reports that both Matthew Fox and Ed Harris have left the project due to scheduling conflicts.[17]


  • Early July 2011: Principal photography begins in Malta
  • July 12, 2011: reports that naval aircraft-carrier scenes are scheduled to be shot in Falmouth, Cornwall, UK.[18]
  • July 22, 2011: Game of Thrones actor Elyes Gabel is announced as joining the cast.[19]
  • August 5, 2011: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) enters negotiations to join the cast in a "small but notable role" role.[20]
  • August 4, 2011: The Falkirk Herald reports that filming is set to take place along a road on the outskirts of Grangemouth Refinery land in Grangemouth, Scotland.[21]
  • August 9, 2011: A release date of December 21, 2012 is announced, the day of the so-called Mayan apocalypse.[22]
  • August 14, 2011: Filming begins in Glasgow, Scotland.[23]
  • October 6, 2011: announces that actor David Morse has joined the cast as a "prisoner living in an abandoned jail."[24]
  • October 10, 2011: Filming begins in Budapest even after a Hungarian Police raid on the World War Z arsenal found functional weapons intended to be used as props.[25]
  • December 27, 2011: Film Music breaks the news that Marco Beltrami has signed on to produce the film score.[26]
  • January 3, 2012: Forster and Paramount Pictures tell the Los Angeles Times that they "each view World War Z as a trilogy that would have the grounded, gun-metal realism of, say, Matt Damon's Jason Bourne series tethered to the unsettling end-times vibe of AMC's The Walking Dead".[27]
  • February 10, 2012: All weapons charges were dropped after investigators failed to identify exactly which "organization or person" had "ownership rights", and therefore couldn't "establish which party was criminally liable."[28]


  • March 13, 2012: Paramount announces that One Shot starring Tom Cruise will take the December 21, 2012 release date, and that World War Z's release had been moved to June 21, 2013.[29]
  • May 31, 2012: reports that production would return to Budapest for seven weeks of additional shooting.[30]
  • June 8, 2012: Hollywood announces that Damon Lindelof (Lost, Prometheus) has been tapped to rewrite the last third of the screenplay.[31]

  1. Par, Plan B raise 'Zombie'
  2. Exclusive Interview: Max Brooks on World War Z
  3. JMS’s WORLD WAR Z Script!
  4. Max Brooks Talks WORLD WAR Z Flick
  5. Forster to direct Par's 'World War Z'
  6. J. Michael Straczynski On 'World War Z': 'The Scale Of What We're Doing Here Is Phenomenal'
  7. World War Z Update
  8. "World War Z" Feature Hits A Delay?
  9. EXCLUSIVE: Brad Pitt To Star In 'World War Z,' Paramount Options 'Zombie Survival Guide' And 'Recorded Attacks'
  10. Brad Pitt’s World War Z Could Be (Un)Dead If Paramount Can’t Find a Partner
  11. ‘World War Z’ With Brad Pitt And Marc Forster Regroups; Can It Beat Imminent Zombie Pic Infestation?
  12. SCOOP: World War Z Going Ahead, Cinematographer Prepping At Studio Right Now
  13. James Badge Dale Goes to 'World War Z'
  14. Big screen heart-throb Brad Pitt will jet into Scotland to film zombie epic
  15. Matthew Fox, Ed Harris In ‘World War Z’ Talks
  16. Brad Pitt to film horror movie in Glasgow city centre
  17. Matthew Fox and Ed Harris Are Out of World War Z
  18. Brad Pitt's Zombie Film Heading For Cornwall
  19. 'Game of Thrones' Actor Cast in Brad Pitt's 'World War Z' (Exclusive)
  20. Bryan Cranston in Talks to Join 'World War Z' (Exclusive)
  21. Film star ready to roll into town
  22. The zombie war film will be released on Dec. 21, 2012, one of four wide releases to open on that date.
  23. Filming starts in Glasgow for Brad Pitt zombie movie
  24. David Morse To Zombie Pic ‘World War Z’
  25. Counter-terrorism police seize World War Z machine guns
  26. Marco Beltrami to Score ‘World War Z’
  27. Brad Pitt's double play
  28. Brad Pitt's Illegal Gun Cache: Is He Really in Serious Trouble?
  29. Paramount Release Shakeup: Tom Cruise's 'One Shot' to Christmas; Brad Pitt's 'World War Z' to Summer
  30. Brad's zombie shoot comes back to life
  31. Damon Lindelof to Rewrite 'World War Z' (Exclusive)