The World War Z cast and crew are gearing up to begin seven weeks of additional photography, in order to salvage the adaptation of Max Brooks’ popular zombie apocalypse novel. Paramount is reportedly most concerned about the film’s third act, and hired on Damon Lindelof (Prometheus) to do a substantial rewrite of the conclusion to the WWZ shooting script draft.
… Or, rather, so we were previously led to believe. The latest WWZ report reveals that Lindelof did not, in fact, do any scripting for the project. That duty instead fellow to fellow Lost alum Drew Goddard, whose resume also includes the scripts for Cloverfield and Steve Spielberg’s upcoming Robopocalypse adaptation (along with Cabin in the Woods, which Goodard co-wrote and directed).
Deadline says Lindelof “cracked a potential new ending” for WWZ, which Goddard scripted thereafter. However, it’s possible that Paramount may not even use that new conclusion; and, even if the studio does elect to go that route, it could recruit new go-to writer, Oscar-winner Christopher McQuarrie, to do additional polish work (McQuarrie reportedly did a partial rewrite on Paramount’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, and also wrote/directed the upcoming Jack Reacher, both of which are Paramount productions starring Tom Cruise).
World War Z has been embroiled with controversy for a while now, beginning with Paramount’s intent for director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) to deliver a PG-13 zombie flick. Wary fans’ concerns became all the more pronounced when an official synopsis for the film was released, indicating the acclaimed socio-political angle of Brooks’ source material will be heavily played down (in favor of a more generic blockbuster storyline). These WWZ issue go back even further than the first day of shooting, as the project lingered in pre-production for a couple of years, before Brad Pitt signed on to star. Principal photography on WWZ still didn’t begin until nearly a year after the A-lister had been locked down, thanks in part to financial concerns.
Couple all that with word about reshoots and upwards of 4-5 writers taking a stab at getting the script right, and the task of bringing WWZ to the big screen has clearly been a hellish experience for Paramount.
Of course, some of the greatest films of all time were said to be excruciating to make. That tradition goes back a long way with summer blockbusters (beginning with Jaws in 1975). On the other hand: sometimes, no matter how much time, manpower, and money is poured into a tentpole production, that’s no guarantee that general moviegoers will appreciate the extra effort – and, thus, ensure a solid turnout at the box office (see: Cowboys & Aliens, John Carter, etc.).
That’s all to say: no one should be surprised if World War Z proves to be a critical and/or financial bust, given all the behind the scenes struggles. However, there is still the chance (an increasingly slim chance, mind you) this flick could prove to be the game-changing variation on classic zombie movie genre fare which cinephiles have been hoping for.
World War Z opens in U.S. theaters on June 21st, 2013.