Max Brooks: a defense

If you haven’t read an article about the interview with Max Brooks, or seen the video itself, where he talks about his thoughts on the World War Z movie, you are straight up behind. Here are some links.

Read about it or Watch it.

Moving on. I watched the video before it spread like wild fire (I’m hip like that. Just this one time though) and was refreshed and surprised by Max Brooks’ honesty. He knew what would happen when he signed movie rights away. He knew he had no control, and he admits it. He said no to reading the script once they started filming because he knew he couldn’t do anything about it. He isn’t hiding behind his decision or giving us some false image of a devastated write who had a novel turned into a movie and the script is far from his original book. He is a writer who knew what would happen and is okay with it.


I think I might be alone in my support for Mr. Brooks. I’ve watched as the video spreads and people seem to be shocked by what he said. How could he have let them ruin his novel? Why didn’t he try harder? Let’s blame Brooks!

Get over it, people. Just get over it.

Here is what you need to remember: he made the best choice he could given his position. He sold his movie rights to someone likely to make his novel into a movie–a dream all of us writer’s have and likely will never see come true. He wanted to continue generating profit off his book–also something writer’s only dream of. He is honest with his fans, no BS here–something we should always value.

He is not J.K. Rowling, who was so inflated with popularity that she could make demands seven ways to heaven and no one would ever say no.


If Brooks said his movie rights came with restrictions and his constant input and evaluation, I highly doubt anyone would’ve bought the rights. He is not famous or powerful enough to do that. I can guarantee if you ask a handful of average people who J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer is, they will know. Max Brooks? Not so much.

Max Brooks is the last person on the list you should be blaming. If you have to get angry (and I don’t think you should) get angry at the script writers, the producers, the higher-ups who said it would be a good idea. Not the guy that wrote the book you love, brought you a world that you fawn over, and inspired you.


About Eloise J. Knapp

Eloise J. Knapp is an author and designer living in the Pacific Northwest.
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5 Responses to Max Brooks: a defense

  1. Thomas Hunter Broussard says:

    While I am very trepidatious about how this movie is going to turn out. I don’t blame MB for it and hopefully WWZ the book gets a nice bump from this and he gets to writing some more fiction.

    WWZ is one of the only things in the Zombie genre that my wife and I can both talk about at length so good old Max gets a handful of get out of jail cards for that alone.

  2. PClines says:

    Just to toss out…

    On an adaptation like this, one that’s gone through a number of screenwriters, the blame can shift almost entirely to the producers. These writers weren’t brought in to create, they were brought in to do a specified job. The producers wanted X and they went through writer after writer until they got X. Worse yet, half the time X is something completely vague like “I think this scene should be cooler somehow…”

    For most adaptations, blaming the screenwriter for a bad script is kind of like blaming your mechanic because your car’s a piece of crap. He may be the guy working on it, but he’s not the guy who built it or designed it.

  3. Phillip Jones says:

    I think it is also important to remember the concept of “adaptation”. Books made into movies have to be adapted, because what makes an awesome novel does not necessarily make an awesome movie. Novel elements and style may, or may not, adapt well to the screen.

    • zomblog says:

      Also very true. And for the sake of keeping an audience entertained, sometimes the book shouldn’t be translated exactly. I remember reading Choke and then watching the movie. It was so, so exactly the same that I found the movie a little boring.

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