The question here might be: did World War Z lose the two actors, or did it never quite have them? It’s a distinction that can be difficult to make when news of an actor being in talks to a role turns into an assumption that they have it. So, Matthew Fox and Ed Harris were both recently reported as likely additions to Marc Forster‘s adaptation of the Max Brooks zombie apocalypse novel World War Z. But now they’ll evidently not take their respective roles, after all, leaving those positions open and in a hurry to be recast.
Vulture has it that both actors have moved on. Matthew Fox realized that his commitment to I, Alex Cross, where he’ll play a serial killer opposed by Tyler Perry, was going to be a problem. And Ed Harris? We don’t actually know what happened there; or Vulture doesn’t, anyway.
The amazing thing here might just be that we’re reporting on a long-gestating project with Brad Pitt attached, and the news is not that he has moved on. But that would be a massive blow, as World War Z is shooting now, and will continue to roll cameras through the summer. Given that it is a big event movie with Brad Pitt in the lead, finding a couple actors to fill out these two roles shouldn’t take long.
Here’s Publishers Weekly’s synopsis of Brooks’ novel, via Amazon:
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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.