Marc Forster has done some great movies and some which fell apart — cough, Quantum of Solace, cough — and it appears his adaptation of Max Brooks’ zombie apocalypse novel World War Z is heading towards that latter category. It stars Brad Pitt and is produced by Pitt’s company, Plan B Entertainment. Unfortunately, the production’s been plagued with problems we’ll list in a moment. The newest problem? Brad Pitt and the director are not speaking to each other, even though the film still has at least three weeks of reshoots to finish.
Things got so bad that when Forster had notes on a scene for Pitt, they had to be relayed through an intermediary — and vice versa. [...] And all this as the production crests $170 million as it heads into its costly reshoots, with an ending that is still in flux. [Vulture]
This comes after Brad Pitt fought to have Forster hired to direct. What happened between then and now? Well, numerous problems, it turns out:
The film was rushed into production in July 2011 in order to make a Christmas 2012 release date, even though the script wasn’t entirely ready. This speed proved for naught, as when both Paramount execs and Pitt became unhappy with how some of the big action set pieces were turning out, especially one at the end of the film that wasn’t cutting together properly, the studio decided to bump the film’s release until June of 2013. And in May, it was announced that Z would be returning to Budapest to shoot several weeks of additional material as well as reshoot some original scenes. [...] Last month, Lost exec producer and Prometheus scriptwriter Damon Lindelof was brought in to watch the movie and make suggestions to Paramount on what fixes were needed. [...] Problem is, sources tell us that Lindelof said the script needed months of work, not days — something he didn’t have time for — and changes were needed throughout the film, not just at the end. [Vulture]
Vulture has even more on this collapsing souffle of a movie. Complicating matters is that Pitt has final approval on any rewrites, so the director can’t shoot anything until Pitt approves. And they’re allegedly not speaking. Yikes.
Another underlying problem behind this whole kerfuffle is that they started shooting before the script was even finished, and the script they used veered drastically from Brooks’ popular book. Instead of following the long-term aftermath of a global zombie outbreak, they started filming yet another movie about trying to stop a global outbreak, with a possibly happy ending to boot. Why even buy the rights to something if you don’t want to adapt it? Burnsy wrote an awesome rant about this here. I’ll stop talking smack about it now, because I’ve heard what Brad Pitt does when you talk too much:
World War Z opens June 21, 2013. Maybe.