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David Fincher Close to Deal to Direct ‘World War Z 2’ (EXCLUSIVE)

After previously taking the film off its calendar, Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions look to be moving forward with a “World War Z” sequel, with David Fincher directing and Brad Pitt back to star, thanks to the studio’s new chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos, according to knowledgeable sources.

While Gianopulos has not officially official greenlit the movie yet, he is expected to do so in coming weeks. This will likely be among the studio chief’s first greenlit movies. Sources say that production would probably begin in the first quarter of 2018.

A spokesperson for the studio has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Variety first reported last summer that Pitt had been courting Fincher to direct the pic and that the director was intrigued by the idea. The plans had to be put on hold while Pitt dealt with his divorce from Angelina Jolie, and were put into question once the studio, then headed by Brad Grey, took the film off the calendar to consider whether or not to move forward with the tentpole.

Gianopulos has since taken over the studio reins and over the past month, has been weighing which projects to pursue and let go from the previous regime’s slate.

If the deal is finalized as expected, it would mark a big milestone in the long development process that started last summer. Pitt met with a handful of directors but nothing materialized until he decided to reach out to Fincher to try and woo him for another collaboration.

Gianopulos has a long standing relationship with the director, going back to Fincher’s most recent film, 2014’s “Gone Girl,” which Gianopolus gave the go-ahead to when he was chairman at 20th Century Fox. Fincher and Pitt made their 1999 feature “Fight Club” at Fox.

Fincher hasn’t directed a film since “Gone Girl.” The filmmaker has been turning his attention to television as of late. He recently shot the Netflix pilot “Mind Hunters.”

Sources say that Fincher, who is weary of sequels, having aired his displeasure during his time on “Alien 3,” has always been open to listening to Pitt when the actor reaches out. The duo nearly collaborated on a reboot of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” for Disney a few years ago, but that project never move forward.

A Fincher-Pitt reunion on “World War Z” would mark their fourth film together, having previously worked on “Se7en,” “Fight Club,” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

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