Writers are brought on to perform rewrites on projects all the time, but it’s not every day that a scribe is hired to rewrite a film’s script after the film has already been shot. Such is the case with director Marc Forster’s (Quantum of Solace) zombie apocalypse pic World War Z. The film is based on Max Brooks’ novel of the same name and stars Brad Pitt as a United Nations employee “who traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.” Production took place last year in various European locales, with Paramount even considering a potential trilogy based off of the dailies they were seeing.
Back in March, it was announced that the film was vacating its December 2012 release date for the summer date of June 21st, 2013. The move didn’t turn many heads, as most assumed that Paramount thought the zombie pic would do better business in the heart of the summer rather than in the midst of the crowded holiday season of 2012. Heads did turn, however, when rumblings began that the film was set to undergo some massive 6-7 week reshoots later this year. Hit the jump for more.
Word that World War Z would be needing reshoots lasting up to six or seven weeks came as quite a shock; whole movies are filmed and wrapped in six or seven weeks. Now it’s clear that there are some serious problems with the film, as Heat Vision reports that Lost and Star Trek scribe Damon Lindelof is being brought on to rewrite the script. Apparently he’ll be focusing mainly on the film’s third act, which is said to be in need of significant work. Matthew Michael Carnahan (State of Play) wrote the initial adaptation of Brooks’ novel, but Lindelof is coming off the much buzzed-about Prometheus and worked on the Star Trek sequel for Paramount, so he’s not exactly coming out of left field.
While this major tweaking for the in-the-can World War Z is quite shocking, it brings to mind another film that was recently scheduled for major reshoots; from the same studio no less. A month away from release, Paramount recently pushed G.I. Joe: Retaliation all the way back to March of 2013 to accommodate for a 3D conversion and reshoots. We talked about this strange move—as well as World War Z’s reshoots—in the latest episode of our podcast The Collision, and it’s troubling to see stuff like this become commonplace.
With such a long reshoot schedule planned, hopefully the issues troubling World War Z can be worked out. We’ve heard that the film differs significantly from the book in that it focuses mainly on Pitt’s character, but the subject material is ripe for larger themes and bigger ideas than “zombies are scary.” It’s hard to believe that Pitt would sign on for such a film in the first place, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the reshoots are being done to add more action or zombies to what is hopefully a more contemplative film.
Though it’s unclear exactly what the issues are with the film, as a fan of Lindelof I’m hoping he can fix whatever problems have arisen while maintaining a character-centric and thematically important throughline. The reshoots are scheduled to get underway this September or October, but depending on how significant the reshoots are I’m unsure if World War Z will maintain its June 2013 release date.