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Now That Brad Pitt Isn't Speaking To Marc Forster, Will The Director Helm The 'World War Z' Reshoots?

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by Kevin Jagernauth
July 13, 2012 12:48 PM
18 Comments
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There are few actors in Hollywood who champion visionary filmmakers and artistic talent quite like Brad Pitt. He can be fiercely loyal and has developed long-term relationships as a producer and actor with folks like Terrence Malick, Andrew Dominik, Ridley Scott and David Fincher. But those friendships can fray. While we'll never know the whole story behind "Moneyball," we doubt Pitt and Steven Soderbergh are still exchanging birthday cards. And it looks like "World War Z" is brewing another rift between Pitt and a filmmaker.

Vulture reports that Pitt has stopped speaking altogether to director Marc Forster, as the studio and film gear up to head into three weeks of reshoots (though previous reports have put the figure at as long as seven weeks -- more on that in second). Apparently, production president Marc Evans, Paramount film group head Adam Goodman, and Dede Gardner who runs Pitt's Plan B, are acting as intermediaries between the two, passing along any communications the director or actor have for each other. Awkward. The irony? Pitt was the one who championed Forster for the gig when the studio was hesitating due to his reportedly contentious shoot on "Quantum Of Solace," which faced not only a tight deadline but was, according to Daniel Craig, "fucked" by the writer's strike.

But, as much as Forster is being thrown under the bus, let's pause for a second. Vulture adds that not only was "World War Z" also facing a tight deadline -- shooting started last summer for a Christmas release this year -- but it also started lensing without a finalized script. So, one can't entirely blame Forster that Pitt and Paramount honchos were "unhappy with how some of the big action set pieces were turning out, especially one at the end of the film that wasn’t cutting together properly." If you start without a clear idea of where you're going, this kind of stuff is bound to happen.

As we know, Damon Lindelof was brought on to try and salvage the script in advance of the reshoots, for a film that even Paramount admits is only about half of a good movie at this point. And while it was recently reported that Lindelof had his input, with Drew Goddard actually putting pen to paper, Vulture adds that the "Lost" writer bailed because the fixes being asked for required "months of work" and the changes would be needed throughout the movie, not just for the end. Oof. So where does the movie stand?

Right now, the script is still being sorted. Pitt has final approval but until he signs off, a budget can't be drafted, and it's unclear just how many weeks of additional work are needed (hence the estimates on the reshoot schedule). As for Forster, even though he and Pitt are not on speaking terms, his DGA contract likely will see him bound to the film though "outside help" may be brought in for the action sequences. “The studio is cultivating multiple options,” a source told Vulture. “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 shitty action can be saved. This is not an unmitigated disaster; it is salvageable.”

Of course, there is total silence from everyone actually involved in the movie at this point. But something Forster told us last fall at TIFF, has a bit more of a haunting resonance now: "I feel like every time I take on a movie, it’s important that the possibility of failure exists, and of the unknown, because it’s a challenge to do something I haven’t done before and something I have to try to work out. Because every filmmaker, every artist, every person who’s trying to create something, you cannot [always] succeed, but you can eventually have failed and succeed again."

Barring any further disasters, "World War Z" will open on June 21, 2013.

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18 Comments

  • Yeah | July 16, 2012 2:27 PMReply

    Forster is one of the biggest hacks of all time.

  • Josh | July 16, 2012 11:19 AMReply

    Ken Burns should've adapted World War Z in the style of his documentaries. Can you imagine a "Civil War"-esque take on the zombie apocalypse? The book lends itself to this style as well; it just wasn't intended to be a big action blockbuster.

  • Vince | July 14, 2012 3:26 AMReply

    Recently re-watched STRANGER THAN FICTION. Cool movie. Maybe Forster overdid some of the "visualization" stuff with numbers, but that's because it's s definitely more of a "writer's film."

    My understanding about this current mess is that Michael Straczynski wrote a good script. Pitt brought on Forster who did not care for the script, which was scrapped. Forster also could not hire the crew that he typically works with and the studio teamed him big weight tech-savvy people who did not respect him.

    I'd put the blame on the producers, Pitt in particular.

    The Moneyball situation was a little different. I heard Soderbergh had re-written the script without telling anyone and three days before shooting Sony pulled the plug.

  • dd95 | July 14, 2012 2:47 AMReply

    well i dont care im still gonna go watch it!!

  • Zandiman | July 14, 2012 2:25 AMReply

    There was no way this was going to be a good movie. The book upon which it is based is the MOST un-cinematic novel I've ever attempted to read. I say "attempted" because I gave up on it a third of the way through. It has no central story line, no protagonist and no narrative drive. It's a collection of horror stories from various people around the world about how they each experienced the zombie apocalypse. Throw in a hack like Marc Forster who, with his ineptitude at shooting action, nearly fucked the whole Bond franchise and you had a recipe for disaster. Why Pitt would choose Forster after seeing Quantum of Solace is beyond me. Nobody ever said actors were smart.

  • Mark | July 13, 2012 9:26 PMReply

    Quantum of Solace was horrifically bad, Pitt has no one to blame but himself for handpicking this loser.

  • Rebecca | July 13, 2012 6:25 PMReply

    I agree with XIAN. I am a big fan of the book and so I was really excited for this project in the beginning and even had hope because Brad Pitt has been involved in some very good movies. But this has just snowballed into something I will no longer see in theaters or even consider comparable to the novel they claim to be "adapting" for the big screen. It's a shame because the book is great.

  • Luke | July 13, 2012 6:04 PMReply

    Hire Vic Armstrong to direct the reshoots. You might end up with action that makes sense.

  • Xian | July 13, 2012 3:54 PMReply

    Should have just filmed Max Brooks's book as a interview-based post-war analysis of how lack of cooperation among people and nations caused the zombie outbreak to be far worse than it could have been... that was the crux of the story, and the filmmaker's blew it by 1) not adapting the book, but rather appropriating the title; 2) not having Max Brooks involved; and 3) going for a PG-13 rating, meaning the book's themes would be ignored or dumbed down in favor of less-than-horrifying action set pieces designed to get ignorant fans of the book and young men in theater seats.

  • LA2000 | July 14, 2012 3:18 AM

    Actually, the book you describe sounds a lot like the draft I read.

    The whole script was more of a courtroom/ investigative procedural set after the war was over. Occasional flashbacks to the war, but most of it was set in the aftermath. Sort of a zombie Nuremberg trial with the main question being "how did it manage to spin out of control - what went wrong" And I think that may be the problem now. Too much talking. Too many feelings. Not enough zombies. Hence, the reshoots.

  • Zandiman | July 14, 2012 2:27 AM

    Xian, there's no way that would have worked. A series of interviews and flashbacks do not make for a good movie. Whoever thought this would make a good movie was out his mind.

  • Jesse | July 13, 2012 3:08 PMReply

    It reminds me of Hirschbiegel and The Invasion. German-speaking director, Big Star, Unhappy Studio = you know how it all ends.

  • digital | July 13, 2012 2:28 PMReply

    This is shaping up to be a massive disaster. Why hire a director and not let him direct? Since Pitt chose Forster, he shares a great deal of the blame.

  • jimmiescoffee | July 13, 2012 1:44 PMReply

    Forster has semi-quietly put together a nice filmography. I like Pitt, but due to my immense respect for Steven Soderbergh I question him here.


    also "Damon Lindelof was brought on to try and salvage the script." yeah fuck this.

  • rodie | July 13, 2012 1:39 PMReply

    It seems like, as a director, having a big star for your movie who's also a producer of the film is not typically the best situation to be in. The director needs to be able to direct. When the lead actor is wearing two hats, one below the director and the other on the studio side, things get muddy fast.

  • james | July 13, 2012 12:56 PMReply

    Last movie Forster made that WASN'T a failure?

  • Shala | July 13, 2012 1:21 PM

    Finding Neverland? Monster's Ball?

  • Daniel | July 13, 2012 1:12 PM

    I second that emotion.

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