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World War Z is an American post-apocalyptic horror film starring Brad Pitt, based on the novel by the same name by Max Brooks. It was released on June 21, 2013.

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Former USAF DFAC Services employee Gerry Lane and his family sit in heavy traffic in Philadelphia while the radio reports on a rabies outbreak that has spread internationally. After hearing explosions and a truck that zooms through the road while it hits an officer, that informs Gerry to remain with their vehicle at all cost, the truck clears the road allowing Gerry to escape in the confusion. The driver of the truck is seen to be infected having no control of his body, and repeatedly tapping it's foot on the gas pedal. The truck's violent run through the road is ended after hitting another car and is toppled. Gerry's daughters are frightened, as Constance keeps shouting that she wants her blanket and Rachel sits instead on the car's floor refusing to go back and put her belt back on, resulting Gerry oblivious to the road and is hit by an ambulance and a vehicle. Luckily, they're okay and they exit their car. Meanwhile, a confused man looks on and wonders what's causing the panic, it then cuts to a scene of the entire plaza of Philadelpia where hundreds of people are attacked by zombies, infecting them one by one. The man realizes the threat is nearing him and he retreats to a vehicle where a zombie is in pursuit of him, the man sees there are still occupants in the car. Then, suddenly a zombie charges in front of the windshield and begins smashing it with it's head brutally. The man exits but the zombie grabs him and bites his arm. Gerry's family witnesses it and heads through the abandoned RV that the owners had just hopped out of and abandoned for no apparent reason, and left the keys in, Constance drops her doll and Gerry grabs it, the doll begins counting it's revealing how long it takes for a human to turn, it takes 12 seconds for a human to transform. The man (now a zombie) attacks the occupants in the vehicle. Masses of zombies begin biting people, Gerry and his family starts the RV but a zombie attacks them, Gerry's wife manages to get it out but another one attacks the RV. While driving, Gerry steers  hard right and scrapes the zombie into vehicles until it finally lets go. Gerry smashes towards a military checkpoint causing citizens to make their way through also. Gerry's family escapes while mass hysteria continues throughout Philadelphia. The military has reported that the attempt to contain and quarantine the city is a fail, and Philadelphia is thrown into disarray.  As the attacks continue, the Lanes narrowly escape to an apartment complex, to wait for extraction by a helicopter sent by Gerry's former UN colleague, the Deputy Secretary-General Thierry Umutoni.

After a brief struggle in which Gerry is almost infected, the Lanes reach the helicopter and are taken to a U.S. Navy vessel off the coast of New York City, where a team of analysts and military personnel are analyzing the scope of the worldwide outbreak. A virologist, Dr. Andrew Fassbach, argues that the plague is a virus, whose origin must be found in order for a vaccine to be developed. Because of his expertise as a former UN investigator, Gerry is tasked with helping investigate the virus and help Fassbach find the outbreak's source. After the Navy threatens to kick Gerry and his family off the ship if he does not help, Gerry reluctantly agrees to fly to Camp Humphreys, a military base in South Korea where the word "zombie" was supposedly first used in reference to the outbreak. Before he leaves he tells his family goodbye giving his wife a satellite phone so they can keep contact.

Arriving at the base, they are attacked and Fassbach accidentally discharges his weapon, killing himself. At the base, Gerry learns from the survivors that the zombies are attracted to noise. The leader also informs Gerry of a local who bit the base doctor, and shows him to a room of incinerated bodies, where the soldiers first saw the outbreak. Gunter Haffner, a former CIA operative imprisoned for treason, tells Gerry to go to Jerusalem, where the Israeli Mossad had established a safe zone just before the outbreak was officially acknowledged, implying Israel might have had prior knowledge. Gerry and the soldiers return to stealthily refuel the plane but Karin calls Gerry and the noise of the phone attracts the infected. Gerry and his pilot barely escape but several soldiers are killed.

In Jerusalem, Gerry meets Mossad leader Jurgen Warmbrunn, who explains that Mossad had months earlier intercepted communications from an army general in India, who stated that Indian troops were fighting the "rakshasa". With this knowledge and using a policy implemented to prevent Israel being caught off guard, known as the "10th Man", the country quarantined itself. Though quarantined Israel allowed uninfected civilians, regardless of nationality, to enter. While Gerry asks Mossad for answers, while Mossad claims that he doesn't have any and only advises him to find a way to hide, the citizens celebrate with singing using loud microphones to fill the air with joy. Due to loud noises coming from within the zone, the thousands of infected outside begin to hear it and are attracted to it, they relentlessly keep climbing towards the wall, piling themselves until they reach the top. Gerry notices the noise and warns Mossad but it's too late, zombies have reached the top and plummet down. Panic quickly arises, and Israeli troops form in and shoot the falling zombies. One of the helicopters tries to break the ladder of zombies on the other side of the wall but proves difficult as thousands of zombies keep climbing up. Gerry runs away from the mayhem and is escorted by IDF soldiers ordered by Mossad who escapes in a vehicle. Not before long, zombies break through the defensive line of soldiers and begin attacking the citizens then advance through. Gerry looks back and notices an old man completely ignored by zombies, though he continues going to the airport. Meanwhile, thousands of zombies have breached through, and has caught up to Gerry. They make their way through a tunnel where zombies begin jumping and falling over people, some of them end up in exterior staircases above panicking people, one of them grabs one of Gerry's Israeli escorts, Gerry tries to pull him down, but to no avail. The Israeli soldier being bitten refuses to be transformed into a zombie, and opens up a grenade causing the exterior staircase to collapse down on the people it also pins down some of Gerry's Israeli escorts. Meanwhile, at the airport Gerry's pilot is informed that the city has been breached and overrun, and all the citizens are headed towards the airport. Gerry and his IDF escorts are cornered by mass of zombies on both sides, they decide to head through a building almost getting swallowed by the massive hordes. They battle their way through the building, clearing the area of zombies. The Israeli soldiers clear out the area, while locking each gate. Outside, Gerry and the female IDF member clears the area of zombies, and is helped by a chopper. Gerry looks on as fleeing people is devoured by the horde of zombies, also witnessing a feeble boy being ignored by mass of zombies. Back inside, dozens of zombies are entering the building, and they kill them off by throwing a frag grenade. It suddenly stays quiet for a brief moment, until a zombie bites the female IDF member. Thinking quickly, Gerry amputates her hand and counts to 12 while bandaging her wound, when he counts to 12 he concludes that she isn't gonna turn into a zombie. They hear the chopper waiting for them and move out. However, zombies ambush it and others jump in the chopper crashes and explodes. They continue their way on foot en route to the airport. Meanwhile, Gerry's pilot fears that the zombies are nearing, request permission to take off abandoning Gerry thinking that he might've been infected or dead already. Gerry arrives at the airport where he is too late and his plane has taken off without him. They quickly get attention of another plane and manage to climb aboard, while Gerry's other IDF escorts remain behind. The pilot drops a ladder, to quickly get them inside, the pilot helps them climb up and drops the female IDF member's rifle. Gerry asks a frightened stewardess where is their next destination, but has no idea. Gerry looks out the window and sees that masses of zombies have caught up to the airport and begins attacking the leftout and abandoned citizens.

The plane finally takes off, and passengers are relieved that they're still alive, though still shakened. Gerry looks out the window one last time to see the now overrun Jerusalem, where the city is thrown into chaos, panic and confusion. The remaining defenders shoot relentlessly to hold out as long as possible but with zombies keep coming over the wall, the defense is futile and Jerusalem falls into destruction. Gerry is shakened, he later reveals his name and the IDF member only identifies herself as Segen (lieutenant).

Contacting Thierry, they are diverted to a WHO research facility in Cardiff, Wales. While still in the air, a stowaway zombie emerges from the galley elevator and attacks the stewardess, this causes a domino effect of attackers to occur, Gerry tells the passengers to barricade the other section of the plane with baggages but a bag falls down and attracts a zombie who alerts the others that there are more. Gerry tries to hold out the barricade but proves useless as zombies blast their way through just as the plane is about to be overrun with zombies, Gerry detonates a hand grenade. The explosion blasts a hole into the side of the plane, which sucks out many of the zombies and causes the plane to crash. An injured Segen and Gerry emerge as the only apparent survivors of the crash.

After arriving at the facility, Gerry wakes up a few days later after he blacked out, he contacts Umuntoni to help convinced the WHO members his identity, but he learns that his family has been shipped to the mainland after Umuntoni claimed that he died in the plane crash. Gerry reveals his theory: that the infected do not bite people who are seriously injured or already terminally ill, since they would be unsuitable as hosts for viral reproduction. He volunteers to inject himself with a terminal but curable pathogen on himself to see if his idea works. However, the wing in which the pathogens are stored was overrun with infected, after a doctor accidentally infected himself and then his colleagues. Gerry fights his way through the zombies into the pathogen storage vault, injects himself with a sample, and successfully returns to the main lab without being attacked. Seeing that his "camouflage" theory works, the doctors rejoice and immediately treat him.

Gerry returns to his family, now relocated to a safe zone at Freeport, Nova Scotia. A "vaccine" derived from deadly pathogens is developed that can act as camouflage for the troops battling the infected, and for fleeing civilians. As human offensives begin against the zombies, humanity now has hope, but Gerry notes that, "This isn't the end, not even close."

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 (later retitled Jack Reacher) 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]

Cast and Crew[32]


  • Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, a U.N. employee who scours the world, interviewing survivors of the Zombie apocalypse, referred to as World War Z.
  • Mireille Enos as Karin, Lane's wife and mother of their two children.
  • Fana Mokoena as Thierry Umutoni, the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General.
  • Daniella Kertesz as an Isreali soldier known as "Segen", who accompanies Gerry when he leaves Israel.
  • James Badge Dale as Captain Speke, an American soldier who "tries to warn the government that the threat of zombies is real."
  • Lucy Aharish as a young Palestinian woman.
  • Julia Levy-Boeken as an Isreali refugee.
  • Matthew Fox as a U.S. special forces soldier sent by Thierry Umutoni to rescue the Lane family in Newark.
  • Elyes Gabel as Dr. Andrew Fassbach, a virologist
  • David Morse as a prisoner living in an abandoned jail
  • Abigail Hargrove as Rachel Lane, who is Gerry and Karin's elder daughter.
  • Sterling Jerins as as Constance Lane, who is Gerry and Karin's younger daughter.
  • Fabrizio Zacharee Guido as Tommy, a young boy who is rescued and taken in by the Lane family.
  • Ernesto Cantu as Tommy's father.
  • Vicky Araico as Tommy's mother.


  • Director:
    • Marc Forster
  • Writers:
    • Damon Lindelof
    • Matthew Michael Carnahan
  • Cinematography:
    • Robert Richardson
  • Music:
    • Marco Beltrami
  • Producers:
    • David Ellison (exec)
    • Dana Goldberg (exec)
    • Tim Headington (exec)
    • Graham King (exec)
    • Bradford Simpson (exec)
    • Ian Bryce
    • Dede Gardner
    • Jeremy Kleiner
    • Brad Pitt
    • Jillian Kugler (assoc)






Images from an advanced screening in New Jersey
Images from Muse concert at World War Z premier in London
Production Images


At Comic-Con 2010, Author Max Brooks announced 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.[33]

Marc Forster and Paramount Pictures told the Los Angeles Times in January 2012, that they "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".[34]


  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)
  32. Cast and Crew on Internet Movie Database
  33. EXCLUSIVE: Brad Pitt To Star In 'World War Z,' Paramount Options 'Zombie Survival Guide' And 'Recorded Attacks'
  34. Brad Pitt's double play
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