There is now word from Variety that Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible, The Orphanage) has exited Paramount’s World War Z sequel, which stars Brad Pitt. It sounds like the the option on the director just ran out of time, as he had been attached since 2013.
“Because of pre-existing film commitments, Bayona is not able to make ‘World War Z’ this year, and it is our ambition to do so,” Paramount said. “He is a wonderful director and we hope to work with him soon.”
There had been a bit of a scuffle concerning the studio sort of strong-arming Juan into making the film, after learning there was serious interest on the part of Universal and producers to have the director make the follow-up to the billion dollar earning revival/reboot Jurassic World with Jurassic World 2.
Here is an excerpt from that original story from The Hollywood Reporter.
J.A. Bayona is squarely on board to direct [World War Z 2], though rumors surfaced recently that his involvement was on thin ice after being eyed to direct the Jurassic World follow-up. Sources say there was little Bayona could do given that he has a holding deal for World War Z 2, but the Jurassic World 2 overtures helped light a flame under Paramount to keep Bayona happy and get a new script in motion with the fanboy-friendly writer.
It’s possible that this other film commitment could be Jurassic World 2, which is said to have a release date of June 22nd, 2018. However, this is currently speculation due to Universal’s strong interest in him originally and now his sudden exit from the big Paramount project.