- Juan Antonio Bayona will helm the sequel to "World War Z"
- He previously directed "The Impossible" and "The Orphanage"
- "World War Z" overcame production complications to become a blockbuster
- It's now planned to become a franchise
Juan Antonio Bayona, the Spanish filmmaker who directed "The Impossible," the disaster movie about the 2004 Asian tsunami starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, will direct Brad Pitt in the sequel to "World War Z."
A source close to the zombie project confirmed the news, first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.
Based on Max Brooks' novel and planned as a franchise, "World War Z" overcame production complications to become a summer blockbuster, grossing $540 million worldwide, and a solid critical hit.
Director Marc Forster ("Quantum of Solace") and Pitt didn't always see eye-to-eye, and the original ending was trashed, requiring dramatic and expensive reshoots.
At the end of the first film, Pitt's United Nations employee is reunited with his family in Canada after he heroically found a solution to protect humans from zombies. "This isn't the end," he says. "Not even close. Our war has just begun."
Bayona, 38, has a background in horror ("The Orphanage"), and "The Impossible," which grossed more than $180 million worldwide, had an apocalyptic look and feel.