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David Ellison's Skydance May Help Save Brad Pitt & Marc Forster's 'World War Z'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist March 29, 2011 at 7:08AM

Film Might Shoot As Early As JuneLast we heard on the long-gestating zombie pic "World War Z" -- set to star Brad Pitt and directed by Marc Forster -- word wasn't good. The $125 million film was said to be in danger of getting folded as Paramount was having difficulty in getting backers for the very expensive genre film. And certainly, after the financial underperformers of films like "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" and more recently "Sucker Punch" around Hollywood, studios are getting more wary of footing the bill themselves for roll-of-the-dice fare that has niche appeal. But it looks like the film may have found a saviour in a name that is quickly rising as one of the eminent producers around Hollywood.
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Film Might Shoot As Early As June



Last we heard on the long-gestating zombie pic "World War Z" -- set to star Brad Pitt and directed by Marc Forster -- word wasn't good. The $125 million film was said to be in danger of getting folded as Paramount was having difficulty in getting backers for the very expensive genre film. And certainly, after the financial underperformers of films like "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" and more recently "Sucker Punch" around Hollywood, studios are getting more wary of footing the bill themselves for roll-of-the-dice fare that has niche appeal. But it looks like the film may have found a saviour in a name that is quickly rising as one of the eminent producers around Hollywood.

Deadline reports that David Ellison's Skydance Productions may be teaming up with a couple of other financiers to provide the money needed to get the film off the ground and it might even go before cameras very, very soon. Should everything fall into place quickly, "World War Z" could begin shooting in June.

The name of Ellison certainly is no surprise given that he is currently Paramount's golden boy. He was one of the folks behind "True Grit," he's got a major stake in the upcoming "Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" and is also behind the Seth Rogen/Barbra Streisand vehicle "My Mother's Curse." David is the tentpole side of the coin to sister Megan's proclivity for more character-driven, arthouse pieces. But together they are quickly affirming themselves as solid tastemakers capable of rescuing ambitious films with their healthy bank accounts (their father is the founder of Oracle).

The Black List approved script for ‘Z’ by J. Michael Straczynski (with rewrites by Matthew Michael Carnahan) centers on a UN bureaucrat named Gerry Lane, who in the aftermath of the zombie war is asked to compile a complete report on the incident. Our fellow writer read the script and praised the “smart structure that keeps the nature of the book intact [which] should manage to separate the finished film from the omnipresent likes of ‘Resident Evil’ and ‘Survival of the Dead.’”

However, as we noticed in our extensive piece there area a plethora of zombie movies in development and the key will be getting this one out of the gate first before viewer fatigue sets in. That said, the name "Brad Pitt" bucks any trends and if he announced he was making a vampire movie today, people would still line up and lose their shit. Not to mention, the film boasts a fairly unique premise as well. So fingers crossed folks, "World War Z" may just lurch back to life yet.

This article is related to: Films, Actors, Marc Forster, World War Z


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