With the Marc Forster-directed, Brad Pitt-starring “World War Z” not only being pushed back to next summer, but gearing up for seven weeks of reshoots, the stink of “disaster” is beginning to emanate from this one. And now, one man will try to repair the film. His name? Damon Lindelof.
Pulling a Sony/”Men In Black III“-style move, Paramount has hired the pricey Lindelof to try and save their zombie movie, tasking him with re-writing the third act. It’s clear that studio executives haven’t seen “Lost” or haven’t been listening to numerous criticisms from some quarters about the frustrating vagueness of “Prometheus,” but Lindelof is there mainly to try and correct whatever problems the movie has. It’s not clear how much of the finale needs to scrapped, but when you hire a guy like Lindelof, and set aside seven weeks for additional shooting (which for many other people, is basically enough time to shoot an entire movie, not just a third) it seems pretty clear that a massive overhaul is in the works.
It appears that, in the wake of “Battleship” and “John Carter” severely underperforming this year, studios are getting cagey, particularly Paramount who have already pushed “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” to next spring, hoping to fix problems by adding more Channing Tatum and 3D. But there are probably bigger questions that shareholder types are going to want answers to. Pushing one blockbuster back for reshoots is bad, but two in a single year? That’s not good, and some folks are going to have some serious explaining to do if these gambles don’t pay off.
The reshoots are slated for September and October, presumably with Forster still at the helm. “World War Z” has been in development for years, and while it looked like a no brainer once Pitt joined, it seems no one really knew what they were getting, and when they got it, they didn’t like what they saw. Either that, or the movie was rushed into production once Pitt signed on the dotted line (though given how thorough he tends to be with projects he gets involved in, we doubt he’d come onto something half baked).
It will be interesting to see how this narrative unfolds over the coming year and where the inevitable finger of blame is pointed. But let’s remember that “Moneyball” also had Brad Pitt attached was once kiboshed at the last minute, completely rewritten and then turned into a major Oscar contender. We’re not saying “World War Z” will win awards, but it is entirely possible that Lindelof can save the day. On the other hand, the track record for this kind of stuff is running against the film (please see “The Invasion” or “Jonah Hex,” neither of which could be salvaged). It seems the biggest battle in “World War Z” is getting the actual film made. [THR]