Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Max Brooks: The Lost Interview



Back in late May of 2012, I was fortunate enough to interview Max Brooks during a visit he made to Central Washington University in Ellensburg. I had been sick for about a month; a few days later was diagnosed with Type II diabetes and spent a night in the hospital to get my blood sugar down. I never got around to typing up my notes from that interview. With the release of the film “adaptation” of World War Z this week, I dug up my notebook and present to you now (As best I can, my handwriting was a bit shaky that day) the lost Max Brooks interview.

WARNING SIGNS: How does it feel to be recognized as an authority on a subject so many people find ridiculous?

MAX BROOKS: It’s never been ridiculous to me. No one else was on my wavelength.

WS: That wavelength is growing. It’s to the point where shows such as Deadliest Warrior [the cable show featured a vampires versus zombies episode for which Brooks served as the expert on zombies] are exploring your territory.

MB: On Deadliest Warrior everybody was on board. Steve Niles (30 Days of Nights and Deadliest Warrior’s vampire expert) knows about everything. I was impressed with how much the show was into it. These guys are hardcore about science.

WS: There has been some negative press about the World War Z movie (Editor’s note: please remember this interview took place in May 2012, almost a full year before the film’s release. At the time, the film was scheduled to be in theaters in December 2012 but was pushed back not long after this interview was conducted.) What are your thoughts?

MB: I’m just waiting to see the movie. I haven’t read the script. I don’t see the point in that because a script is not a movie.  I’ll wait until it’s out to pass judgment. I owe them (the filmmakers) that. I have to have patience. The audience should, too. We have to give them the chance to do the best work they can.

WS: I say the same thing. Books and movies should be taken as different media, even when one is adapting the other.

MB: Exactly. You can stay so close to the source material that you ruin the movie.

WS: Moving on from that, let’s talk about preparation. How important is it to prepare now?

MB: It’s extremely important. You have to do what you can. Fifty percent of the people out there won’t have a job when they leave school but if I can save fifty percent of them from being eaten by zombies, I will have done my job tonight.

Brooks then gave a hilarious and informative presentation. According to Brooks, the two most important items for surviving the zombie apocalypse are water and clean water. “Unlivable land will kill you before zombies ever do,” he said. 

One curious spectator asked Brooks what would be the most effective armor against zombies. Brooks ran in place on the stage and said, “Good shoes.”

My favorite nugget of the night: “If you see a zombie that was a cute girl, just don’t.”

So there you have it. Probably not as good as it would have been if I had written it a year ago, but I did end up in the hospital, so it’s not my fault. If you (especially if you are Max Brooks) have any issues with this, you have my apologies upfront. 

World War Z starring Brad Pitt and directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace, Stranger Than Fiction) hits theaters Friday, June 21 in 2D and 3D where available.

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