World War Z: Brad Pitt Battles Predator Zombies According To John Nelson

World War Z will feature Brad Pitt battling zombies this upcoming summer in this action horror flick. Based upon Max Brooks‘ apocalyptic novel of the same name, Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane of the United Nations who is traveling the world in search of the origins of the zombie pandemic.

Entertainment Weekly managed to interview visual effects supervisor John Nelson.

“They are like predatory animals that can’t control themselves,” John Nelson said about the zombies. “I worked with tigers [while shooting Gladiator], and if you watch them when a horse goes by they go batty, even if they know they can’t reach it. When Zs see humans they do same thing, they activate. They launch themselves.”

The goal is for the film’s zombies to be unique by making them more “predatory.”

“Everyone has seen everything in this genre,” Nelson said. “So of course we looked to try to find something new. And we have some.”

The design teams used real-life predators for conceiving their new version of the pop culture zombie.

“[Our zombies] move like birds or school of fish, too, in reactive formations, and it’s not because they have a higher level of [shared] thinking or communication – it’s about their nature and the fact that their instinct to infect is so basic, efficient, and overpowering,” Nelson explained. “They will go through anything. If they lose both legs, they will walk on their hands. They lock in and they’re like salmon going upstream or sperm swimming to be the first to egg.”

If World War Z does well at the box office it may be turned into a trilogy in order to finish the entire story of the novel. But Entertainment Weekly has insights on the challenges World War Z will face in meeting this goal.

“First the $180 million project will have to overcome a bumpy production that already has vultures circling overhead. Filming began in summer of 2011 with an eye toward a release this holiday season, but as weeks became months the disagreements grew between director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland) and producer-star Pitt. Earlier this year, the December release date was tossed out the window, and in the summer, the third act of Matthew Carnahan’s script got the same sort of farewell fling. Despite the third act footage that was already in the can, Prometheus writer Damon Lindelof was brought in to write a new ending — both literally and figuratively — for the venture. Of course, the new scenes and re-shoots pushed the film costs up as well, putting more pressure on all involved…”

World War Z should be a welcome addition for fans of The Walking Dead and other zombie flicks if it stays true to its novel roots. Has anyone else read Max Brooks’ World War Z?