Max Brooks News

Anne Bancroft



June 2, 2008

Tidbits: A terrific new interview here.... Max talks a bit about his upcoming flick here.... Interesting WWZ script review here.

April 11, 2008

Upcoming event, from the Persian Mirror:

The Others - NY Comedy Show
Date And Time 8:00 PM Tuesday, Apr 15
Event Area New York Metro
Event Location Broadway Comedy Club
Description 'The Others' -- a Groundbreaking New Live Stand Up Comedy Show Featuring Middle Eastern and Asian-American Comedians Hosted by 'Daily Show' Correspondent Aasif Mandvi. If you are not Black, White or Hispanic in America, you are an "Other." "The Others" is a hilarious new stand up comedy show celebrating these very funny, but not often heard from, "other" voices of stand up comedy including Arab, Indian, Bangladeshi, Muslim, Asian, and Iranian. The show is hosted by "Daily Show" correspondent Aasif Mandvi and features Dean Obeidallah (Comedy Central's "Axis of Evil" special/ABC's "The View"), Vidur Kapur (Fox TV), Maysoon Zayid (Comedy Central's "The Watch List" and upcoming PBS documentary airing May 11), Mohamed Masoud (NY Arab-American Comedy Festival), Maria Shehata (Comedy Central's "The Watch List"), Meena Dimian (NY Arab-American Comedy Festival), Rio, Fariaz Rabbani, and more. The show is being co-produced by Arab-American comedian Dean Obeidallah and Max Brooks, an Emmy award winning writer for his work on "Saturday Night Live" and co-creator, along with Obeidallah, of Comedy's critically acclaimed Internet series "The Watch List."
SHOW DETAILS: Date: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 Showtime: 8:00 P.M. Venue:
Broadway Comedy Club, 318 W. 53rd Street, (bet 8th and 9th Aves), NY, NY Tickets: $10 plus 2 beverage minimum. For reservations, please call 212- 757-2323. Admission Fee $10
Contact Info 917-607-4047

Event Posted by Dean Obeidallah at 2008-03-31 07:50

News from

Fango got word from writer/director James Felix McKenney that a quartet of genre names have been added to the cast of his new movie SATAN HATES YOU: FANGO RADIO co-host Debbie Rochon, original HILLS HAVE EYES star Michael Berryman, ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE/WORLD WAR Z author Max Brooks and indie filmmaker/actor Alan Rowe (THE BLOOD SHED) Kelly. more

Max added to LA Fango con:

WORLD WAR Z author Max Brooks has been added to the lineup of FANGORIA’s gargantuan West Coast Weekend of Horrors, to be held April 25-27 at the Los Angeles Convention Center (1201 South Figueroa). Also the author of THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE, Brooks will be moderating the NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD reunion panel on Sunday. more

Max Brooks and Chris Alexander on MTV -- Chris sez:

I had a real deal thrill last week, sharing air time with the kid that Mel (and Anne) built, WORLD WAR Z and THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE author Max Brooks, on MTV LIVE.

Here’s the clip. (Max is at about the 3:22 mark)


Max is coming to the University of Chicago this year (link):

The Zombie Readiness Task Force was granted $5,540 to bring Max Brooks, the author of The Zombie Survival Guide, to campus to deliver a speech on how to survive zombie attacks. Because the group was denied RSO status last spring, the Task Force is not eligible for SG funding this year. Second-year Justin Hartmann, co-founder of the Task Force, said receiving UnCommon funding was crucial to the group’s development and growth.

“We thought that a fund for the purpose of uncommon activities was exactly what we needed,” he said.

Hartmann added that the Max Brooks lecture will be a nice change of pace from typical U of C life.

“While discussions on the quad about Kant and Marx are great, every now and then we need a little change of pace. Last year’s grant money went to a lecture by James Carville, which, while ever so academic, hardly provided a break from strenuous academic life. Max Brooks is a wonderful speaker and can help stressed U of C students remember the important things in life, like protecting ourselves from the undead,” he said.

This is cute. And great pics, too!


I got to meet Max Brooks, author of World War Z and the Zombie Survival Guide, and I had an entire geeky day of it.

March 6, 2008

Max is quoted in this very interesting article about George Romero:

“Before George, zombies in movies were voodoo,” said Max Brooks, author of “The Zombie Survival Guide.” “He redefined the zombie as a flesh eater created from science, not magic. He took the zombie from fringe horror to apocalyptic horror. Suddenly they could be anywhere.”

I found an interesting review of World War Z here, in case you are interested.

Script Review: World War Z
Written by IESB Staff
Friday, 14 December 2007

World War Z is a best selling novel by Max Brooks and is amazing. If you haven't read it, pick it up soon. Be sure to also get the Zombie Survival Guide, it's priceless.

Someone over at Paramount Studios enjoyed the novel so much that they've decided to make a feature film based on it with a screenplay by writer J. Michael Straczynski.

Here's quick description of the novel so that you may understand what this is all about.


An Oral History of the Zombie War
By Max Brooks

The end was near. Zombies were taking over. They were infiltrating ever corner the world. No neutral ground existed, no nation was secure, and we were in serious danger of becoming extinct - overrun by hordes of the living dead.

WORLD WAR Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (Crown Publishers, September 12, 2006), is a recounting of these apocalyptic and horrifying years that will make sure we never forget how close we came to total annihilation. Told from the perspective of numerous survivors from all over the world, from Denver to South Africa, Sydney to Yonkers, Malibu to India, WORLD WAR Z captures the sacrifices and, toward the end, the ingenuity of our race to defend and save our cities, towns, and villages from a plague that seemed virtually impossible to stop.

Brooks tells a moving story of courage and survival and gives us insight into the key military strategies that helped us take our world back. To this day, controversy and conversation still revolves around some key issues that WORLD WAR Z addresses such as:

- How the Walking Plague was initially covered up by corrupt governments

- Why the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services downplayed the Great Panic

- A zealous American President's mistake in putting his party's needs in an election year ahead of the safety of his people

While WORLD WAR Z does remind us of our past mistakes and the vulnerability of the human race, it also serves as a reminder that the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as the "living dead" is the human factor. WORLD WAR Z also warns us not to let our guard down, to be ever vigilant, and to learn from the mistakes made in the past. Indeed, as Brooks records from a survivor in Burlington, VT: "The numbers [of zombies] are declining, thank heavens, but it doesn't mean people should let down their guard. We're still at war, and until every trace is sponged and purged and if need be, blasted from the surface of the earth, everybody's still gotta pitch in and do their job. Be nice if that was the lesson people took from all this misery. We're all in this together, so pitch in and do your job."

WORLD WAR Z is Max Brooks's life work. Logging countless hours of travel to capture and preserve first-hand experiences from the Dark Years, Brooks records in great detail the one aspect that has been neglected in all previous retellings of this war: the extraordinary job we did in coming together to thwart our extinction and reign triumphant.

One of IESB's readers, the Angel of Death, got his grubby little hands on the World War Z script and sent in a review. See his thoughts below.

A few words of warning before I proceed: I have not read the Max Brooks novel which serves as the basis for this script (I was aware of its premise, existence and the charm and intelligence of its author, whom I saw speak briefly at the last Fangoria convention held in Burbank recently). I am not familiar with the writings of screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski – although I’ve heard not bad things of his output in television as well as comics. This is my first such review, so if it’s a little on the esoteric side, my apologies. Finally, I find the living dead films of George A. Romero, which created this whole flesh eating zombie craze, to be the greatest horror films ever made. That said:

World War Z, as a screenplay, is the greatest handling of the living dead since Romero’s quadrilogy. And the first zombie script to have me wondering “Can a zombie film win an Oscar?”

This script is done, there, at the level of perfection. The final greatness of this project is no longer in Straczynski’s hands: he’s done his job. He’s delivered a piece of screenwriting that, if translated correctly, will have affected a genre classic. We can all now only pray that this gets the director it deserves: Ridley Scott, David Fincher, Spielberg (Just hear me out - “Munich” Spielberg), Soderbergh – someone capable of handling a political thriller/David Lean style epic with an edge, which just happens to have a zombie outbreak as a backdrop – and that it is, by God, not messed with…

From perusing the novel’s first few pages, I found myself wondering that old anxious thought of “How the hell are they going to make this into a movie?!” It just seemed far too expansive and too much of a straight-fact reporting of an event, however brilliant in the execution and detail I was seeing, to be translated into film. Guess that’s why they didn’t hire me.

Straczynski brilliantly finds a way into adapting the novel, drawing on a technique employed in the past in such films as Cronenberg’s “Naked Lunch” and, to a more obvious degree, “Zodiac” the film is about the events which ostensibly led to the novel’s writing, with a surrogate for the author as our hero. In this case, the commission of a report on the recently contained zombie outbreak which ravaged our world in the film’s story.

The script begins with GERRY, a United Nations investigator, being charged with writing up the aforementioned report in a post zombie apocalypse ravaged world by a friend and superior, ROBERT MCENROE. The job will be a thankless and incindiary one – writing a report no one will want to read, uncovering truths no one wants uncovered… But Gerry is the perfect man for the job, having written similar reports in the past and having no political axes to grind.

Gerry’s reluctant at first, feeling he should spend every waking moment with his wife KARIN and their children now that the state of the world is less turbulent – but is ultimately swayed by a very simple and poignant point: the task would be one of the most normal undertakings anybody has attempted in a long while. Or at least that’s what we are led to believe thus far…

The visual representation of this ‘’post-war” environment is striking, profound and eerie. Power is slowly being restored. A great many places are all but desolate wastelands. Rooms are lit with candles, etc.

Those of you who wanted a more expansive exploration of this idea from “28 Weeks Later” are in for a real treat with this film – it embellishes that to a gut wrenching and highly detailed degree, simply epic in its attention.

Gerry’s journey takes him all over the world in an attempt to piece together what caused the outbreak and who was responsible for its handling turning out so badly. Questions which, in today’s political climate, could very easily get a nosy person killed – by our own government. A threat Gerry faces in the script, as in any self-respecting political thriller.

His quest begins in China where he meets with a doctor who witnessed the first reported attack and subsequent fire bombing of the Chinese village where the incident occurred. The doctor’s recount is enough to shake Gerry into taking him up on his urging to go see a colleague of his who knows how the infection spread beyond China. Gerry’s progress is challenged by subtle insinuations of forceful deterrence from various officials, but he presses on nonetheless, and this next illumination of the manner in which the undead phenomenon escalated solidifies his desire to persevere and uncover every facet of the truth behind the most horrific disaster in human history.

Paranoid about the horrors of organ trafficking? You’ll be very afraid when you see what that leads to in this universe. (Of course, once the film’s released, it might result in a decided decline in the practice, which wouldn’t be bad…) And so begins the second act.

Throughout this, we’re treated to astounding and terrifying flashbacks of the plague via testimony by the various officials and civilians Gerry questions during the course of his reporting:

…just when you thought it was safe to back in the water – zombies emerging from the Florida ocean and obliterating beach goers (if you go out and buy the novel, I strongly suggest reading it at home, behind locked doors)…

…A testifying witness laying eyes on the sight of a mother devouring her infant son – and countless other images of such primal terror, I couldn’t believe I was getting in one film…

And whenever Gerry feels it might be time to throw in the towel – either due to his own reservations or continued pressure from McEnroe to ease off – we’re treated to a flashback of Gerry’s own personal struggles during the zombie crisis as he and his family fled North (the reason provided giving sublime credence to the ever popular notion which many a Romero character has had before) which spur him forward further and further as he’s reminded of the suffering humanity experienced and the service his reporting will ultimately perform.

Perhaps the most startling revelation occurs at the script’s half way point wherein Gerry uncovers the nugget that our very own Central Intelligence Agency was presented with a report of the encroaching plague by the Israeli government, who first identified the threat, and dismissed it as hoax – a perfectly understandable reaction, but for the overwhelming evidence to the contrary in this situation…

As his reporting comes to an end, Gerry is treated to a fateful encounter with the Vice President . The VP tries to strong arm him into writing something that will please all parties, giving an official position that will have audiences howling at the brilliant satirical shadings sprinkled throughout.

And as the second act comes to a close, Gerry is giving a final ‘warning’ by ‘the Administration’ which could seriously influence his decision to submit his report in its current state - getting dangled over the lion’s pen (literally) and sent a message that’s hard to dismiss…

All this ultimately leads to not only the report’s submission in all its penetrative glory, but a final character break-down sequence and revelation that is simply shattering and the final word – an absolutely perfect visual demonstration and assertion - on George Romero’s view of “We’re them and they’re us.” It will shake you to your core. All I say is, you’ll never look at soup the same way again…

Finally, the origin of Max Brook’s novel is cemented at the film’s end in a clever and satisfying way, leaving you with a warm and fuzzy feeling usually reserved for a courtroom drama and, as I said before, recalling that earlier piece of investigative moviemaking, “Zodiac.”

The interweaving of flashback throughout the screenplay is superb. The script is riddled with Oscar speeches you’d expect to find in “Good Night and Good Luck,” “Syriana” and other films of the like. The characterizations are razor sharp and the imagery is searing. The thematic layering is mature and subtle and of the highest caliber.

Needless to say, I’m now something of a fan of J. Michael Straczynski and Max Brooks.

This is definitely not something fat headed teens will be renting and watching at sleep overs either. It is simply too sophisticated.

Horror fans, zombie fans, and fans of classic cinema need to send up a thousand prayers that this is handled reverently and expertly – if it is, it will be the horror film to beat for years to come after its release. One for the books. Second only to Romero’s trilogy – the progenitor of the phenomenon – the best living dead story since he created the genre.

Script Information:
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Revised First Draft - April 30, 2007
127 pages

January 2, 2008

Those of you who are able to receive the Canadian "Space" channel will be pleased to see this press release:

Zombiemania World Television Premiere on Space Thursday January 3 at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT 

Zombiemania DVD cover
“When there is no more room in hell, the Dead shall walk the earth” — Dawn of the Dead

From blundering cadaver to cannibalistic killer and agent of infectious disease, the zombie has come a long way since its first appearance in popular culture 70 years ago. Modern day movies and video games have given those undead, brain-hungry monsters life in our nightmares and huge success at the box office. Zombiemania looks at ways in which the zombie feeds upon our deepest fears. It explores reasons why, in an era of terrorism, war and threats of pandemic, the zombie is the monster that best captures the zeitgeist of our time.

Zombiemania features interviews with a who’s who of the Zombie world including: George A. Romero - Legendary filmmaker whose groundbreaking Night of the Living Dead helped launch the zombie subculture. Max Brooks - Author of the New York Times Best Sellers The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z. Tom Savini - Renowned Special FX- Make-up guru, actor and director. Wade Davis - Canadian born ethnobotanist whose research into Haitian zombies was made popular in his best-selling book The Serpent and the Rainbow. Greg Nicotero - Academy Award winning Special FX creator and actor who founded KNB FX Group responsible for creating the special effects for over 400 film and television projects.

More "Max News"



"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away."

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