Looks like World War Z is in trouble. From THR:
Extensive re-shoots, a last-minute script rewrite and creative issues force Paramount’s $170 million-plus zombie war movie to June 2013 from a planned December release.
Brad Pitt went into producing and starring in Paramount’s World War Z, based on a best-selling Max Brooks novel about zombies in a postapocalyptic world, hoping to kick off a trilogy that would amount to more than just a series of PG-13 popcorn movies.
“Can we take this genre movie and use it as a Trojan horse for sociopolitical problems, and what would the effect on the world be if everything we knew was upside-down and pulled out from under us?” he told The Hollywood Reporter in January, suggesting that his inspiration was the iconic 1974 disaster epic, The Towering Inferno.
It now seems that everything was upside-down on World War Z. “A nightmare from top to bottom,” describes one source with ties to the production, which appears to have been hampered from the outset by a lack of clear creative direction. Pitt hired the director of his choosing, Marc Forster (The Kite Runner, Finding Neverland), but Forster — who has limited experience on effects-heavy tentpoles — was not allowed to bring along his usual team. Instead, several more seasoned players were hired. The result, say multiple sources, is a seemingly headless enterprise driven by conflicts. At this point, the movie, with a price tag now said to be north of $170 million, needs as many as five weeks of complex reshoots, which are not expected to get underway until at least September. Paramount has taken the unusual step of hiring Prometheus scriptwriter Damon Lindelof to rework the film’s third act. The studio announced in March that it was moving the film to June 2013 from December.
Trouble emerged early: Three weeks before shooting was to begin in June 2011, sources say Forster had not made critical decisions about what the zombies would look like and how they would move. “They just couldn’t get it right,” one insider says. “There was a lot of spinning of plates, a lot of talking. [But] they did not have a plan.” Meanwhile, seasoned below-the-line talents were hired, then replaced, including line producer Colin Wilson (Avatar) and Oscar-winning effects man John Nelson (Gladiator). Cinematographer Robert Richardson, who has three Oscars, is said to have asked to leave the production on more than one occasion. (None would comment for this report.)
World War Z is one of several recent projects that underscore the risks associated with big effects films, especially when untested directors are involved. Disney saw first-time live-action director Andrew Stanton’s John Carter bomb in March, and Universal is facing serious problems with the $175 million to $200 million Keanu Reeves samurai film 47 Ronin, which it pushed into 2013 after first-timer Carl Rinsch presided over a chaotic shoot. Industry veterans say World War Z is another example of a film that was greenlighted and sent into production with a concept and script that were not fully baked. And they cite this situation as one of many in which studios set release dates and then push to finish in the timeframe allotted, leaving insufficient prep time.
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