Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director J.A. Bayona stepped away from helming Brad Pitt's World War Z sequel just before its planned production start because he wasn't the right fit for the job, Bayona told Den of Geek.
"We were working on that project for around a year, and we had a great idea," Bayona said. "We were very excited. We designed great set pieces, and we were very excited with the direction we were taking with the film, but somehow, we never found a way to connect it all together."
"There was a moment where we were about to start production, and I wasn't ready," he added. "I told them and I said, 'Listen, I'm not the right guy for this. There's probably another guy who's able to take care of this in a way that the movie will not get affected,' so I decided to step out of the project."
Asked about his original plans for World War Z 2, Bayona said, "I would prefer not to tell you, because they're working on it now. I had a conversation with them recently, and they're very excited, so I prefer them to talk about it."
The Spanish filmmaker, who helmed Guillermo del Toro-produced horror ghost story The Orphanage, won the job after meeting with Pitt, who would return to produce and star in the sequel then dated for June 9, 2017.
The project later lost Bayona, who dropped out in January 2016 because of obligations to Liam Neeson and Felicity Jones fantasy drama A Monster Calls and the Jurassic World sequel.
"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 in a statement. "He is a wonderful director, and we hope to work with him soon."
Last April, Variety reported repeat Pitt collaborator David Fincher had signed on as director with a rumored early 2018 production start. The Se7en and Fight Club filmmaker offered an update in November, saying they were "trying" to get WWZ2 off the ground and that "a lot of stones have been laid."
The project was delayed to accommodate Pitt's appearance in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and, without a finalized script in place, Fincher moved on to production of the sophomore season of Netflix series Mindhunter.
Most recently, Paramount confirmed the sequel at CinemaCon in April, but the studio has yet to stake out a new release date.