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World War Z

Opens June 1

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A six-year odyssey will finally come to an end on June 21, when Brad Pitt’s $170 million World War Z hits theaters. On a recent day in Los Angeles, Pitt, who stars and produces, was looking forward to crossing that finish line. ”We’re still shaping it, getting close,” he said with a weary survivor’s smile during a break from editing. ”It looks good. It feels good too — at least at the moment.”

Directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) and based on the 2006 novel by Max Brooks, this sci-fi pandemic film runs in a different direction from AMC’s The Walking Dead. It’s closer to Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later in its viral rhythms, and even dovetails with Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. The movie follows Pitt’s character, a former U.N. ”hot zone” specialist, as he circles the globe looking for the origins of a virus that kills its victims and then reanimates their cadavers as rasping vessels of infection. Instead of lurching, these zombies move with savage predatory crispness and eerie unison; they pile atop one another like ants in a tower. ”We looked to nature,” Forster says, ”to find something new, something we haven’t seen in a zombie movie.” The result: a more lively undead.

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