June 14, 2006

Pitt outbids DiCaprio for zombie film rights

By Borys Kit and Tatiana Siegel

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - It was a battle between
Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, and Pitt emerged the winner.

The production labels of the two stars -- Pitt's Plan B and
DiCaprio's Appian Way -- were engaged in a competitive bidding
war through their respective studios, Paramount Pictures and
Warner Bros. Pictures, over an upcoming zombie horror book by
Max Brooks titled "World War Z."

By Wednesday afternoon, the dust settled with Plan
B/Paramount winning the movie rights.

In 2003, Brooks wrote "Zombie Survival Guide," which
explained in great deadpan detail how to survive a supposedly
impending zombie apocalypse. The book went on to become a
surprise cult hit.

"World War Z" also tackles the zombie genre but is set 10
years after a great global zombie epidemic and is a serious
oral history of the zombie future told from many perspectives
around the world. Crown Publishing is putting the book out in
the fall.

The galleys of the book went out around town late last
week, but interest took awhile to ignite. By the time execs
finally realized they had a potential "tentpole" franchise, the
battle lines were drawn between Plan B and Appian Way.

The bidding went back and forth between the two into
Tuesday night and carried over into Wednesday. Sources say the
rights sold for six figures, with the deal going to seven
figures if the film actually gets made.

Brooks was a writer on "Saturday Night Live" from 2001 to
2003 and did voice work on the "Justice League" cartoon series.

There are said to be no hard feelings between the
companies, and DiCaprio is starring in "The Departed," the
Martin Scorsese crime drama that Pitt and his Plan B are

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter