Paramount’s decision to push the release date for G.I. Joe: Retaliation back by nine months was considered an extremely bold move – one which also reeked of desperation, given the timing – so in that sense, the studio’s six-month delay of World War Z seemed more reasonable. After all, the latter announcement was made nine months in advance of the zombpocalyptic thriller’s original Winter 2012 release date – and really, WWZ just reads as being a better fit for summer.
However, just as it recently came to light that G.I. Joe 2 may have really been delayed so as to allow for extensive re-shoots (in the hopes of salvaging the film) – it’s also starting to look like World War Z could be in a bad spot.
The Daily Mail says that Brad Pitt and certain other members of the World War Z cast are participating in seven weeks’ worth of additional photography for the film, beginning on-location in Budapest. Although there’s been no suggestion yet that director Marc Forster won’t be supervising said re-shoots, his involvement is (technically) unconfirmed for the time being. That also goes for co-stars Matthew Fox and James Badge Dale – the latter of which may be unavailable in the immediate future, since he’s also appearing in Iron Man 3 (which just barely began production).
As The Playlist discussed in its report on the WWZ situation: re-shoots are a common practice when it comes to expensive tentpole productions. The difference is that additional photography for other recent blockbusters (be it Captain America, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, or The Avengers) only went on for 1-2 weeks tops, in order to address and correct any simple issues that came up during post-production – in large part miscellaneous technical issues that required an extra shot or two. It’s the sheer scope of the additional filming for WWZ that suggests the movie has some major problems in its current state.
Longtime Screen Rant readers might recall that the project was stuck in arrested development for a few years, before (around March 2011) it reportedly came dangerously close to collapsing – only to suddenly recover and start production some three months later. Such a fast turnaround does raise the question: was the WWZ screenplay likewise suddenly ready to go – or did principal photography get underway with a shooting script that still required some significant fine-tuning?
Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski’s original World War Z script draft is said to be pretty faithful to Max Brooks’ source material – with an approach that includes the novel’s interview-based narrative structure. Straczynski’s draft was reworked by Matthew Michael Carnahan (The Kingdom), who was apparently tasked with turning the WWZ movie into a PG-13 global thriller/horror flick that has franchise potential. The official changes to the story of Brooks’ original novel have already prompted much debate among fans (who, for the most part, disapprove).
That’s all to say: given that nearly two months of re-shoots have been scheduled, it’s not unreasonable to assume that the rough cut of World War Z turned out poorly – be it due to a script that needed additional work, or any other issues (admittedly, Forster isn’t renowned for directing globe-trotting thrillers – see Quantum of Solace). Whether or not additional filming can prevent the project from becoming a real-life disaster, remains to be seen. (Here’s hoping, as always, for the best.)
World War Z remains scheduled to begin a theatrical release in the U.S. on June 21st, 2013.