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Damon Lindelof To Rewrite 3rd Act Of 'World War Z,' Will Probably Give It A Vague, Frustrating Ending

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by Kevin Jagernauth
June 8, 2012 2:40 PM
21 Comments
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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]

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21 Comments

  • youshotts | July 7, 2012 9:22 PMReply

    Is Pitt also a producer?

  • LA2000 | June 12, 2012 5:15 AMReply

    Just guessing here, but "World War Z" sounds like a big action film but the script is actually built around events after the "War". It's a procedural with zombies in flashback. And it has a rather small, quiet payoff. I am thinking that they are reshooting (a THIRD of the movie!!?) to juice up the marketing so that they can sell it as something it's not.

    The article about "the good, bad, and ugly" of "Prometheus" noted that the trailers had given away all the good parts. Having worked in studio marketing and advertising, I would like to remind everyone that the point of a trailer is not to enhance your enjoyment of the film. It is to acquire your money.

    What you think of the film once the studio has your money is absolutely none of their concern.

    That said, Lindelhof seems an odd choice because endings seem to be a weakness for him. He's great at asking compelling questions (and "WWZ" is pretty much ALL about asking questions), but he doesn't seem to have the foggiest notion how to answer any of them.

  • Glass | June 9, 2012 1:41 AMReply

    Damon Lindelof rules. Seriously. Prometheus would have been utterly atrocious if he never rewrote it.

  • Alan | June 10, 2012 3:20 AM

    "Prometheus would have been utterly atrocious if he never rewrote it." I think you meant to write Prometheus IS utterly atrocious BECAUSE he rewrote it.

  • William | June 9, 2012 1:24 AMReply

    Damon "Linde-lost" (the plot) is another reason this movie will likely stink.

  • tais | June 8, 2012 8:23 PMReply

    Most movies Brad Pitt are problematic, difficult long projects, and are difficult to become commercial .... WWZ is a book like Moneyball Brad works for years to turn into film, he said in Cannes the film was not ready and that is a difficult book to adapt to the movies, he takes risks in his choices. And if Paramount, think about a sequel maybe have to change the ending even. I just hope everything runs well after all this is an expensive project. And hope the media not begin to speculate and harm the film .... We need more BRAD PITT and other producers who are doing something different in the movies ...

  • Thomas | June 8, 2012 5:26 PMReply

    Brad Pitt did do THE DEVIL'S OWN, a movie that was legendary in its time for its behind-the-scenes problems.

  • Startwithascript | June 8, 2012 5:20 PMReply

    Bring on Lindelof to rewrite the third act because the final season of Lost ended so well. How much of this is Forster's fault, given that Quantum of Solace showed he can't handle big budget action movies?

  • jimmiescoffee | June 8, 2012 5:07 PMReply

    fuck this! awful news. he already screwed up 'prometheus,' an otherwise excellent film aside from the script. pretty big piece ridley! get a screenwriter dammit.

    between lost and cowboys and aliens i want lindelof to fuck off.

  • Alan | June 8, 2012 9:50 PM

    "fuck this! awful news. he already screwed up 'prometheus,' an otherwise excellent film aside from the script. pretty big piece ridley! get a screenwriter dammit. between lost and cowboys and aliens i want lindelof to fuck off."

    Don't understand how you can divorce script and film so easily: it was an awful film BECAUSE of the script. Yeah, Fassbender was great (even though he is given little to do in the final act) and Pearce did the best he could with his material, but the acting across-the-board was mediocre and Scott had zero idea what film he was making: an action film, horror, intelligent science-fiction, thriller?

  • lester | June 8, 2012 3:44 PMReply

    ..but it is entirely possible that Lindelof can save the day ? What you mean to say was that it is entirely possible that he can AND will ruin the day. No, seriously, having just seen Prometheus i couldn't express enough hatred toward this cunt. Worst script of the year and stuff. I just removed World War Z from my 'looking forward to' list.

  • Mark | June 8, 2012 3:27 PMReply

    You just have to laugh and shaje your head at the sheer cluelessness of Hollywood. Lindelof can't write for shit. He's all hype and empty promises.

  • Anna | June 8, 2012 3:26 PMReply

    Since you printed the Daily Mail crap re some 7weeks of re-shoots already going on in Budapest, which has been proven to be a lie, and you reference that BS here again, your bias against this film is again on display. If the third act, the ending, is being rewritten this may be the best news as perhaps a very dense book that covers many years and many events, may have an ending that leads to sequels. MBall was shut down and re written as you noted and turned out to be a great
    film. Hope the same happens here.

  • Geraldo | June 8, 2012 3:08 PMReply

    The mystery on the island is why studios can't see Lindelof as the untalented, overpriced hack he is.

  • KitCon | June 8, 2012 3:06 PMReply

    When they brought in Sorkin fresh off TSN to rewrite Moneyball you had the feeling it'd come out OK. But Lindelof -- after seeing what he wrought in Prometheus -- makes me think they may have to delay WWZ beyond next Summer to allow for further rewrites.

  • Sidney Falco | June 9, 2012 6:27 PM

    Give Oliver a cigar...

  • Lev Ianthe | June 8, 2012 4:43 PM

    It may be true re:the first act - but then very few filmmakers get the opportunity to have a whole new third act written after the film has been shot. Oddly, they probably have more chance of doing something coherent and film-improving (a la Men in Black 3) than the more rushed reshoots that many films undergo.

  • Oliver Lyttelton | June 8, 2012 3:11 PM

    Yeah, and also when Sorkin rewrote Moneyball, it was months before they shot the film, not a year after they shot it. Plus common scriptwriting tip: if there's a problem with your third act, it probably means there's actually a problem with your first act.

  • hannah | June 8, 2012 3:01 PMReply

    Considering that the shooting draft of the script was essentially the first act of a larger (barely recognizable from the novel) grab at a franchise, hopefully Lindelof is coming on to give the project some sort of finality so that it can be pleasing stand alone film and not another open ended disaster for which we'll never see the remaining parts.

  • Hannah | June 8, 2012 7:00 PM

    And I'm not commenting on his previous work, I'm just saying that the shooting script was a mess and needed work - therefore, hopefully whoever is coming in will be doing so with an eye on closing up the story as opposed to so blatantly leaving it open for sequels. Lindelof wouldn't be my first choice, but in those episodes of LOST, he may not have stuck the landing, but he often told engaging character pieces. Attack that as you will. LOST has clearly become the worst thing in the history of the earth for the majority of over-reacting "fanboys".

  • gary james | June 8, 2012 3:44 PM

    FINALITY ??? You are joking arent you ..............this bloke soun a plane crash out for 6 seasons in lost and left so many loose ends in prometheus it made spaghetti look joined up. He's an overrated fanboy.

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