You just know there is trouble when a film is weighed down by extensive reshoots, shifting release dates and new writers feverishly reworking a script.
Apparently, World War Z, the big epic undead flick, has all of the above-mentioned problems. In fact, we just reported here on TG Daily that Star Trek / Lost / Prometheus writer Damon Lindeloff has been brought on to rework the entire third act of the film (while filming), which is definitely not a good sign.
World War Z, based on the novel by Max Brooks, is still on the best-seller lists, and it's what you'd call "a hot property" in Hollywood. Brad Pitt's company, Plan B, paid a lot of money for the rights, and it was going to be a big movie this Christmas at Paramount. Then came news of the release date being shifted, followed by Lindeloff arriving for some serious script doctoring.
Now more details of woe have leaked to the Hollywood Reporter, which claims the film's budget is topping $170 million with "extensive reshoots" and "creative issues." The Reporter also tells us Pitt was originally hoping World War Z would be a franchise, and like George Romero's best, zombies could be more than just zombies. In fact, Pitt saw them as "a Trojan horse for sociopolitical problems."
But sources who spoke to writer Kim Masters said the production's been "a nightmare from top to bottom." The problems have been, as Masters writes, "a lack of clear creative direction," as well as the director, Marc Forster (Finding Neverland) being inexperienced helming an FX laden potential blockbuster like this. The film apparently needs five weeks of reshoots, which may start in September while Lindelof reworks the film's third act.
Of course, there have been plenty of troubled films that were eventually pulled together. For example, the second Bourne movie practically had to start over from scratch and ultimately did just fine. Jaws was re-written day to day because they couldn't get the shark working, and it turned out incredibly well. So maybe World War Z can pull itself together, or so we horror fans hope.
As Adam Goodman, president of the film group at Paramount told the Reporter, the film has a good 45 minutes in it, "maybe even an hour," but it's got to have a strong ending of course, and hopefully this can all get worked soon. And like directors love to say in Hollywood, if the end result turns out great, and the film's a hit, no one's going to remember or care how tough the shoot was.