World War Z Troubles: Rumors Surface That Brad Pitt and Director Marc Forster Are Not Talking
07.18.12 by Ryan
As we sift through the stories that occurred over the weekend while we were at Comic-Con, it seems that Paramount's adaptation of World War Z is in even more trouble. Last week, reports claimed that not only was screenwriter Damon Lindelof (Lost, Prometheus) brought in to help brainstorm a fix to the film's ending, but Cabin in the Woods co-writer and director Drew Goddard did the actual rewriting work, with another writer, Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, Jack Reacher), possibly stepping in at a later date. Now comes word that Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) are no longer on speaking terms.
Vulture was the first to report the communication breakdown, with the site's multiple production sources claiming that Pitt has become so frustrated with Forster that, as the production prepares for three weeks of reshoots (initially reported as seven), that "when Forster had notes on a scene for Pitt, they had to be relayed through an intermediary — and vice versa." Pitt originally fought to bring Forster on board the movie, which Pitt's production company Plan B is producing, and which was rushed into production last July to make a winter release date that has subsequently been pushed to June 21, 2013. This was reportedly done after Pitt and Paramount execs were unhappy with how some of the movie's action sequences were coming together in the editing room. To be fair to Forster, he clearly went into production with a script that wasn't finished, so he may have a good reason for not shooting a movie without having much of a plan.
The other issue seems to be scheduling the reshoots. According to the report, Goddard didn't perform the previously reported rewrites, but instead worked with Lindelof for a almost a month to come up with "framework script solutions," which means that the rewrites still need to be performed. McQuarrie is likely too busy to do those, so a writer will need to be found quickly. After that, Pitt will then be the person to approve the rewrites, and not Forster.
It's still possible that Paramount may decide to simply fix the ending they already have rather than create a brand new one. "The studio is cultivating multiple options," said a Vulture source. "One is to try scrapping [the ending] and trying something different: They want to construct an entirely new ending to the movie. The other is to try salvaging it, because decent action can be elevated, and even sh**ty action can be saved. This is not an unmitigated disaster; it is salvageable."
However, who will exactly do the salvaging is in question. Without a writer in place, no plans for the reshoots can be finalized, which throws a giant wrench into scheduling. Not only that, but it's possible the studio will bring in another director to consult on the action scenes. "They have to be careful, because the DGA has strict rules that say Forster has to be there on the set,” said the source. "But someone is likely to be brought in to help direct the new action scenes."
Paramount is clearly still thinking that World War Z can be saved, as the studio has recently registered trademarks for potential World War Z video games, so it would appear that Paramount still thinks it has a hit on its hands.
Fans of Max Brooks' novel sure are hoping that's true. So far, neither Paramount nor Pitt's and Forster's agents have commented on the situation.