Once feared to be dead, the silver screen adaptation of Max Brooks‘ zombie bestseller World War Z has recently sprung back to life stronger than ever. Cinematographer Robert Richardson has just been brought on to serve as DP — and considering that he’s the award-winning eye behind films like Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, and Shutter Island, this is good news indeed. Shooting is expected to start shortly. Read more after the jump.

World War Z has been in development for over two years now, and at one point last month it looked as though money troubles might shut it down altogether. Since finding additional financing, however, the project’s been fast-tracked. Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Quantum of Solace) is still attached to direct, from a script by J. Michael Straczynski (Thor). Brad Pitt, who is also producing through his company Plan B, is set to star. Richardson has reportedly already begun scouting locations in London, and shooting could begin as early as this month. After years of delays and false starts, we may be getting World War Z even sooner than we thought.

Which is great, because World War Z is just one of manymanymany zombie movies currently in production. World War Z looks like a project actually worth getting excited about, and I’m hoping we’ll get a chance to see it before zombie fatigue reaches peak levels. Brooks’ original novel (subtitled An Oral History of the Zombie War) was well-received critically and commercially, and the guy definitely knows his subject — he’s also the writer of The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From The Living Dead. While I’ve never read World War Z myself, it does sound like an unusually rich, ambitious take on the zombie subgenre.

Here’s Publishers Weekly’s synopsis of Brooks’ novel, via Amazon (where you can pick up a paperback and see what all the fuss is about for a mere $7.99):

Brooks, the author of the determinedly straight-faced parody The Zombie Survival Guide (2003), returns in all seriousness to the zombie theme for his second outing, a future history in the style of Theodore Judson’s Fitzpatrick’s War. Brooks tells the story of the world’s desperate battle against the zombie threat with a series of first-person accounts “as told to the author” by various characters around the world. A Chinese doctor encounters one of the earliest zombie cases at a time when the Chinese government is ruthlessly suppressing any information about the outbreak that will soon spread across the globe. The tale then follows the outbreak via testimony of smugglers, intelligence officials, military personnel and many others who struggle to defeat the zombie menace. Despite its implausible premise and choppy delivery, the novel is surprisingly hard to put down. The subtle, and not so subtle, jabs at various contemporary politicians and policies are an added bonus.

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