Imagine that’s not Brad Pitt up there, but a Paramount Pictures exec – surveying the scorched earth that resulted from the shoot of World War Z and wondering what the future holds. Just a few days ago director Marc Forster claimed that they hadn’t done that much re-shooting saying, “No, seven weeks is not correct. We shot for about four-and-a-half. Reshooting was always normal! …Our reshoots were a little more exposed in the press because we had a different ending. We felt a different ending would serve the movie better. It’s the same if you’re buying a house and you roll out a nice Persian carpet for your living room and you realize it doesn’t really fit.”
That, again, no longer seems to be the case. There’s a story hitting Vanity Fair soon about the production, a production now promises to be the stuff of Hollywood legend, and I say this based on the preview alone.
Marc Evans, president of production at Paramount, recalls seeing the initial cut for the first time, “It was, like, Wow. The ending of our movie doesn’t work. I believed in that moment we needed to reshoot the movie. We were going to have long, significant discussions to fix this.”
What did those discussions entail?
An additional 30-40 minutes of footage, written largely by Damon Lindelof (whose work they appear happy with), shot so they could find a “coherent ending.” The budget ended up ballooning to over $200 Million (which is probably more like $300 with worldwide advertising figured in) thanks to smaller, more bizarre and equally costly mistakes. For instance, after production wrapped in Malta they found a bunch of purchase orders for cast and crew that had been “casually tossed into a desk drawer and forgotten.” Evans calls this, “an unthinkable action. It was literally insane. [We] believed we’d gotten out of Malta good, and I found out we weren’t. That is a nightmare.” I don’t know about you but I’m snatching up a copy of Vanity Fair for the whole article as soon as I can.
World War Z is fast approaching on June 21st. It’s important to remember that, despite all of this, there’s still the possibility of a good movie there. I’ve seen 20 minutes of it that I was lukewarm on, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s not a compelling story in there. Similar stories plagued Titanic, and that one did alright.