For anyone who's read Max Brooks' World War Z or his earlier The Zombie Survival Guide, a big-screen adaptation seemed, if not inevitable due to the problems inherent in adapting Brooks' episodic novel, then at least likely, especially with the continuing exploitation of the zombie sub-genre, e.g., The Walking Dead, a small-screen adaptation of Robert Kirkman's long-running comic-book series (a six-part first season will air on AMC later this year) and last fall's commercially and critically successful zombie-comedy (or "zom-com"), Zombieland. MTV's Rick Marshall has word that Brad Pitt has officially agreed to star in the World War Z adaptation, scheduled for a summer 2012 release.

If you haven't followed World War Z's progress from novel to (potentially) big screen closely, here's a brief summary:

Brad Pitt optioned World War Z from Brooks for his production company, Plan B Entertainment, three years ago. Pitt gave adaptation duties to J. Michael Straczynski, best known among science-fiction fans for creating, producing, and writing Babylon 5 and, among comic-book readers, a multi-year run writing The Amazing Spider-Man for Marvel Comics (Straczynski's currently writing Superman and Wonder Woman for DC Comics). Straczynski became a hot property after Clint Eastwood selected Straczynski's Changeling script to direct with Angelina Jolie in the lead role three years ago.

For the adaptation (later revised by Matthew Michael Carnahan), Straczynski had to find a way to tie the interview-based, multi-character novel (it's subtitled An Oral History of the Zombie War) into an overarching story arc. Straczynski created a new character, a journalist, presumably the character Pitt will now play. Both the novel and the screenplay follow the general rules for the sub-genre that George A. Romero defined (or rather re-defined) 42 years ago with Night of the Living Dead (e.g., a worldwide plague, ravenous, cannibalistic undead), but on a much larger, even epic scope. A longtime fan of the sub-genre, Brooks thought through the global implications of a rapidly spreading, nearly unstoppable plague. His novel focuses, disaster-style, on both the micro (personal) level and the macro (government/military response), pieced together through a series of interviews with the survivors.

Plan B Entertainment also picked up options on The Zombie Survival Guide and a related graphic novel, The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks. Additional information,( e.g., director, other cast members, start date, budget, locations, rating, etc.) isn't available, yet, but hopefully we'll hear more about World War Z over the next few days as San Diego Comic-Con ramps up.

Are you excited/unexcited for a big-screen adaptation of World War Z? Who would you like to see direct? Who else would you like to see in the cast? Would you accept a PG-13 rating to lower the risk for a potentially expensive production (all those locations, undead hordes, big action scenes) or is an R-rating non-negotiable?