Damon Lindelof to Rewrite WORLD WAR Z Ahead of Massive Reshoots

     June 8, 2012


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.

damon-lindelof-world-war-zWhile 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.

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  • Deepak

    Not sure it’s all that troubling. Would rather have the studio take the time to make a better film than release some junk just to make a pre-set release date (at least in the case of World War Z; I really couldn’t care less about G.I. Joe…).

    • Chris

      Except, I seriously doubt that this reworking is going to make the film “better.” Perhaps the likelier phrase is “able to make more money,” which if you hold as always being synonymous to “better” then we have nothing more to discussion.

      I also echo the sentiments of earlier commentors in that I have very little faith in Lindelof at this moment. There is very little salvageable in the Prometheus script, and while it’s difficult to say how much of the blame could be placed on Lindelof personally, the fact that he’s associated with such a screenplay suggests to me that he probably shouldn’t be working for the next little while. Why Scott even filmed that script as is I will never know.

  • David

    Maybe they should have shot the movie like the book instead of the clusterfuck of trying to redo it into preventing the apocalypse.

  • mee

    after MIB3 actually turned out to be a good movie despite the fiasco that happened there, i’ll be up for anything. the one thing that makes me hesistant is not the reshoots, but marc foster. every movie that guy has made has been, to me, the epitomy of mediocrity. just passable to be an ok movie, but entirely forgettable. i do not trust him as a director.

  • Oskars

    Just came from Prometheus screening. I can now say, that Lindeloff is a virus that must be eradicated from the area of cinema screenplay writing.
    As in TV series Lost this movie provided good ideas and premises, but shitty resolution, not to mention the dreadfull pacing issues…
    Lindeloff must be kicked out of Hollywood.

    • amac

      i actually thought the same thing. saw prometheus, and it was good, but a little sloppy. I hope Lindelof doesn’t inject his own ideas into the script, just cleans it up a bit. Not too sure about this movie now.

      • Oskars

        Yes, to be clear I will say that I both loved and hated Prometheus for the mentioned reasons very much…
        So at the end i enjoyed the movie, but mostly due to Ridleys visual directing…

      • Andrew

        I agree with the comments on Lindelof. I was a fan of Lost until the last season where it became painfully obvious that all of the many teaser elements were just that, and were not going to be cleaned up in any way.

        And this was _exactly_ what happened in Prometheus. So many areas where things happened that either made no sense other than ‘that will look cool’, or were just completely unbelievable. Completely disconnected character interaction. As someone said, I ended up liking the film as it looked AWESOME on IMAX, but the script was TERRIBLE. Get this guy flipping burgers please.

    • mattinacan

      i thought it was fantastic, yes, it left some questions about why the engineers would want to destroy us left open for a potential sequel to a prequel, but i understood exactly what was going on throughout.

    • SATAN

      its full of plot holes and cliched characters. –

      the ginger guy coming back as a zombiesque figure. to kill half the cast as they was no way to get rid of them

      no logic in actors decisions
      Noomi going to get the alien removed. says the machine is set up for a man. but its Charlize machine>> was she a dude??

      the ginger chap getting lost trying to get back to the ship. they just scanned the place. the ship is a “C” shape..you cant get lost..

      all the dead engineers. what happened to the them. they hint at chest bursts. if so why the space jockeys running.. where had the things they running from gone.

      the whole plot whole of not explaining one damn thing about the story? the invitation. the only solid thing you learn is we have the same DNA.. this film delivers NOTHING MORE than that. the music was awful. the pacing terrible.

      pointless film.

  • Shaun

    What kind of pictures does that hack Lindelof have of Hollywood execs have to keep getting these gigs? Or maybe he’s “servicing” them all somehow.

    Seriously. Someone stop this guy. Now.

  • Shaun

    Also, Collider could stand stop giving this blowhard so much press.

  • wacko3205

    As as massive Lost fan & someone that enjoyed the Star Trek film…I can honestly say…YES…he leaves far to many openings & holes.

    Very frustrating.

    Can’t wait for more frustration though.

  • Singularity

    I think Lindelof agreed to this so that he could be the subject of every article on movie news sites this week.

  • BeanBag

    Nothing can save this film. It could have been one of the best TV shows ever made if they had just shot the book as it is, word for word, as a single camera documentary style. But no. They buy the rights to the book ONLY so they can own the title and then turn it into a generic zombie film with a now, yet to be written.. “surprise ending”.


    the film makers are doing the right thing here..good sign. I hope they succeed.

  • Andrew

    What with Hollywood’s Lindelof obsession? His script was the weakest link of Prometheus.

  • Ticklemytoes

    Marc Forster guarantees you a stinker.

  • Jack

    This should’ve been shot as a television series, each chapter being an episode, so the viewers would get the same experience that the readers of the story got.

  • JackofSpades

    Lindelof is not a good enough writer to keep getting these high profile jobs. Prometheus was the last proof necessary of his weak scripting.

  • Juanotaco

    I really liked Prometheus,(with that said) get off his sack collider. He really isn’t that much of a great writer, I never see this much cred or promotion go to David Goyer.

  • Marlboroliteman

    Thats what should be done with every movie. Shoot it, watch it, then if it sucks do what needs to be done to make it better before releasing it.
    That being said World War Z’s gonna suck big giant monkey balls no matter what they do.

    • Adam

      Ah, yes. The notoriously PSYCHIC thread commenter, who has seen every movie he comments on before it’s released.

  • Lance

    The rewritten film will end with Brad Pitt speaking into a recorder: “Perhaps… we were zombies all along. And we only just noticed it now.” Then he takes a hit off a big ol’ doobie.

    Bam! How’s that for your deep theme for you?

    As for Lindelof and Prometheus, I think some of the commenters here are too harsh. Obviously the film is set up for a sequel, so why would you put any big answers in the first film?

    I bet you all complained that Empire Strikes Back ended poorly because the Empire wasn’t defeated at the end.

  • Slice

    Damon Lindelof and Uwe Boll belong together.

  • Adam

    It should have been a six part HBO mini-series. PERIOD. You can’t turn an episodic book like that based on INTERVIEWS into a 2 hour movie. It cannot be done. When I heard they completely ABANDONED the ENTIRE structure of the book, I was angry, as I knew they’d missed a great opportunity for an HBO mini-series that could have been done on the same scale as “Band of Brothers” – it could have been one of the greatest things television had ever done. The rearranged plot differs from the book so utterly that to even call it “World War Z” is an insult. I’m not a fan of Lindelof as a writer – he has a habit of taking big ideas and turning them into common denominator fodder, and is TERRIBLE with dialogue. But I hope, at least, that the reason they’re doing the re-write is to bring it back to the book itself – but considering the massively wrong-headed approach they started with, I don’t really hold out much hope for this thing. Not to mention – WHO THE H#LL MAKES A PG-13 ZOMBIE MOVIE? I’m usually not one to quibble about ratings, but right there, you already know that they’ve gone about this all the wrong way.

    • karen

      Totally agree with this 100% – the structure of the novel was genius and abandoning that was misguided. I have always said that an HBO miniseries would be the perfect way to adapt the book. Brooks’ book is filled with tons of amazing ideas and interesting characters – I mean, seriously, he even thought of the astronauts left on a space station during the war! – to turn this into a linear story from point a to point b with a “star” as the main character, that’s just not World War Z!

  • Adam

    People who are complaining that “Prometheus” doesn’t come up with any “answers” are MORONS. The entire POINT of the film is that there aren’t any answers to the questions the scientists were asking – Roger Ebert, who gave it 4 stars, knows this, which is why he said that the fact that the film doesn’t provide answers to the questions it asks is one of the reasons WHY it’s great. Apparently not a lot of audience members like to see movies that force them to actually think after the movie is over. Not to mention – the film is the FIRST film in an obvious duology or trilogy – so why WOULD it answer everything? I swear, movie audiences are getting dumber by the day. “Prometheus” was brilliant.

    • mattinacan

      i don’t get it, Prometheus answered all its questions except why the engineers wanted to destroy us. i agree though, amazing movie.

      • Gregory

        They want to destroy us because we betrayed them by crucifying the last engineer that visited Earth.

    • SATAN

      its full of plot holes and cliched characters. –

      the ginger guy coming back as a zombiesque figure. to kill half the cast as they was no way to get rid of them

      no logic in actors decisions
      Noomi going to get the alien removed. says the machine is set up for a man. but its Charlize machine>> was she a dude??

      the ginger chap getting lost trying to get back to the ship. they just scanned the place. the ship is a “C” shape..you cant get lost..

      all the dead engineers. what happened to the them. they hint at chest bursts. if so why the space jockeys running.. where had the things they running from gone.

      the whole plot – not explaining one damn thing about the story? the invitation. the only solid thing you learn is we have the same DNA.. this film delivers NOTHING MORE than that. the music was awful. the pacing terrible. you need to re assess this film. cinema goers are not getting dumber – you allowing to be spoon feed

      pointless film.

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  • ben

    Hopefully he can make the film’s plot vague and mysterious, and filled with incredibly hokey Christian evangelism.

  • josheli


    FIRE HIM RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • johna

    it’s not gonna be running zombies is it?

  • CanIHaveASlice?

    Damon Lindelof has some pretty great stuff on his resume, but “massive re-shoots” is never a good sign. I was pulling for this movie ever since it was announced, but there is very little to get excited about at this point aside from the source material and Brad Pitts involvement. We’ll see, movie goers…

  • prosky

    Did everyone here READ the Prometheus script? So quick to blame it, but I doubt many of you read it before it was probably tweaked and filmed however Mr. Scott wanted. I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s unfair to blame one person for a group effort…

  • josheli

    The leaked script was proven to be a fake.

  • mrperfect

    Lindelof single-handedly destroyed Prometheus – WWZ has no hope. You caould see his sloppy work all over what could have been a great sci fi horror movie. This guy’s 15 minutes are over…

    • SATAN

      AGREED – awful awful guy

  • Robbie

    How the fuck does Marc Foster keep getting work as an action director? It should have been evident after Quantum of Solace. even more so after Machine Gun Preacher.

  • Gregory

    I actually think that Lindelof seems like a cool guy, but he needs to focus on writing some tight scripts. Otherwise, he’s going to pigeonhole himself like M. Night Shyamalan did.

  • jon morgan

    I have worked in the entertainment industry for years and just because a massive amount of money is involved doesn’t mean somebody understands what they are doing. It never ceases to amaze me how source material that already has the foundation and flow can be changed so drastically when it becomes a movie. Granted translation to screen is one thing and bringing certain aspects to life serve a different purpose on film but I will let the pre-Nolan Batman franchise, minus the Tim Burton films, stand as examples to Hollywoods dick swinging corporate elite influencing our movie culture. Sadly at the same time it takes those knuckleheads to sign the checks to get these dreams funded. Basically Damen Lindelof SHOULD get Lost.

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