World War Z: the komplexified script

To be fair, New Jersey ALWAYS looks like this.

[ We open on a devastated, post-apocalyptic world, struggling to recover from a decade-long zombie war.  Life on Earth is nearly extinct, and humanity clusters in a few countries around the planet — a thriving Cuba, a democratic China, a struggling USA — while hordes of zombies still roam the ocean floors or remain frozen near the poles–]

Hollywood executive: Cut! Cut! Cut!  What the hell is this?  The zombie war is already over?  The movie just started!

[ Well… yeah.  The book is called World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War.  The word “history” kind of implies these events happened in the past. ]

Hollywood executive: Yeah, yeah, TL;DR.  That’ll never sell.  We need to start at the beginning.  We need action.  Wait, did you say America was struggling?

[ Yeah.  In the book, America is nearly destroyed by a combination of the arrogance of its military leaders and the pseudo-scientific gullibility of its citizens. ]

Hollywood executive: No,  no, no, nix that.  This is America.  We win wars, dammit!  USA!  USA!  USA!

[ We open on the modern world, where everything is honkey-dorey… but we show a montage of news-reel footage to suggest the upcoming zombie apocalypse. ]

Hollywood executive: Great.  Now who’s the hero in this movie.

Max Brooks: That would be me, I guess.  I’m a United Nations agent compiling a post-war report for a special commiss–

Hollywood executive: Boooooooooring.  No, you’re a gritty, no-nonsense UN investigator.  Who’s good with guns!  And can fly planes!  Also, you’re Brad Pitt!

Brad Pitt: Kick.  Ass.

[ Brad, his wife Mireille, and his two daughters are driving through Philadelphia… when the zombie apocalypse happens.  Hundreds of slow, lumbering undead shamble aimlessly through the streets– ]

Hollywood executive: No, no, no, cut, cut, cut! What the hell is this?  Slow zombies?  That’s been done.  We need something new: fast, aggressive zombies.  Something that’s never been done before!

Max Brooks: Well, except for the movie 28 Days Later or Dawn of the Dead or Quarantine or any of  the Resident Evil movies…

Hollywood executive: Didn’t I fire you?

[ Brad, his wife Mireille, and his two daughters are driving through Philadelphia… when the zombie apocalypse happens.  Hundreds of fast, agile zombies sprint through the streets.  They leap onto unsuspecting public, ripping into their skin, tearing our their flesh, gorging themselves on brains.  Blood flows– ]

Hollywood executive: No, no, no, cut, cut, cut. We need a summer blockbuster here, people.  That means we need kids and moms to come see this movie too, alright?  Strictly PG-13, right?

This axis could have also been labeled “scares.”

[ Brad, his wife Mireille, and his two daughters are driving through Philadelphia… when the zombie apocalypse happens.  Hundreds of fast, agile zombies sprint through the streets.  They leap onto unsuspecting public, and bite them, once and bloodlessly, on their arms, and then move on, kind of like that creepy purple-plague episode of the Smurfs. ]

Still a better zombie movie than I Am Legend.

Hollywood executive: That’s better.  That’ll bring in the kids…

[ Brad and family commandeer an RV, drive to New Jersey, and meet a recently orphaned Hispanic kid. Brad and Angelina Mireille adopt him. ]

Hollywood executive: … and that’ll bring in the moms.

[ Brad and his family are helicopter-rescued by is UN buddy Fana Mokoena and brought to an aircraft carrier at sea. ]

Fana: Brad, I need you lead a team around the world to find the origin of the zombie virus.

Brad: No, I can’t leave my family.

Fana: Alright, but they’re got getting any more speaking parts ion this movie.

Brad: Fine.  I’m on my way.

[ Brad assembles a crack team of Navy seals and expert virologist Elyes Gabel, and fly to South Korea. ]

Elyes: I’m an expert on plagues and viruses and am humanity’s last hope for finding a cure for the zombie pandemic.  My mental prowess cannot be overstated.  We shall first need to locate the virus’ origin, deduce the mode of transmission from this, and reverse engineer a—

Hollywood executive:  No, no, no, cut, cut, cut.  The plan is to have some egg-head save the day with science?   What the hell is this, Fantastic Four?  No, that crap tanked.  Lose the nerd.

To be honest, Reed’s explanation at the end was Greek to me too.

Elyes: Pardon me a moment while I clean this loaded gun.

[ Elyes shoots himself in head. ]

Brad: I guess it’s up to me now.

Hollywood executive: Better.

Brad: Do any of you soldiers stationed here know where the virus started?

Soldiers: Nope.

Brad: Well, poo.  Where should be go next?

Soldier: [ Sneaks a quick peak at a copy of World War Z ] In the book, there’s a bit about Isreal…

Brad: Sold.  Let’s go to Jerusalem.

Soldier: Just remember… the zombies are attracted to sound.  The only way to get you back to your plane is to go… really…. quietly….

Brad: Sorry, I was setting by phone’s ringtone volume to 11.  Did you say something?

[ Brad’s phone ring.  Zombies kill most of the soldiers and seals… but, you know, bloodlessly.  Brad flies off to Jerusalem. ]

IT’S MOO-VEE DAY! Turn off your cell phone!

Ludi Boeken: I’m a high-ranking official of the Mossad, the Isreali intelligence service.  I correctly predicted the zombie outbreak, and instructed the country of Isreal to secretly big a ginormous wall around the country to keep the zombies out.

Brad: Wait… you had enough time to build a 500 foot tall wall around the entire country of Isreal…. but you never thought to tell the rest of the world about the oncoming plague?  And how the hell did you keep it a secret?  Did you put a big tarp over the whole country? None of this makes any sense.

Ludi: Well, actually, the book explains this in great detail—

Hollywood executive: Details are boooooooooooring.  Pick it up.

Ludi: Oh, look. Zombies.

[ Zombies form a 500-foot-tall undead human bridge to reach the top of the wall and attack the city. One zombie bites the hand of Daniella Kertesz, Brad’s newly acquired Isreali soldier. ]

Brad: Don’t worry.  I saw this once on The Walking Dead.

[ He effortlessly chops off her hand to stop the spread of the infection. ]

Brad: Wow.  That was significantly easier and less bloody than The Walking Dead led me to believe.

Results may vary.

[ Brad and Daniella hop on board a passing 747.  Zombies form a 30,000-foot-tall undead human bridge to reach the plane and attack the passengers.  Unfortunately, the plane crashes in Wales. Fortunately, it does so across the street from a World Health Organization — or W.H.O. — research facility, staffed by Peter Capaldi, Pierfracesco Favino, and the flower-dress lady from Agents of Shield. ]

Zombie trust exercises are rough, man.

Peter Capaldi: Hello.  I’m the Doctor.

Brad: Doctor?  Doctor W.H.O.?

Peter Capaldi: Just the Doctor.

Brad: I have a theory.  The zombies have a weakness.  Their weakness is weakness.  Specifically our weakness.  Our weakness is their weakness.  If we’re weak, we’ll make them weak in a week.

Peter: Good idea.  This being a cutting-edge research facility, we should easily be able to synthesize a pathogen that would trick the zombies into thinking your terminal…

Hollywood executive: What did I say about eggheads and science?

Peter: I meant to say, rats.  All of our deadly disease stuff is stored in a single room, housed in the deepest, darkest part of the building, overrun with zombies.

Brad: Right.  Here’s a crowbar, a bat, and an axe.  Let’s go bash some zombie heads.

Hollywood executive: PG-13.

Brad: …metaphorically speaking.

[ They go into “B Wing,” and are chased throughout the building by zombies, Benny Hill style. ]

[ Eventually, Brad makes into into the deadly disease room, but gets trapped inside when he bumps into the chattering Cenobite from Hellraiser. He injects himself with a random syringe of disease, and walks right past all the zombies. ]

Peter Capaldi: The good news, Brad, is that your plan works!  We’ll be able to synthesize a camoflage virus in no time.

Brad: And the bad news?

Peter: You’ve got radioactive syphilis.  Next time read the label on the bottle, okay?

[ Brad is reunited with his family, and everyone lives happily ever aft— ]

Hollywood executive: Hold it, hold, hold it, cut.  Two words, everybody: Se. Quel.

[ –but the war rages on. ]


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