‘World War Z’: Brad Pitt’s zombie flick faces trouble

Pitt on the set of "World War Z" in 2011. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The long-in-development film adaptation of Max Brooks' epic zombie novel "World War Z" has already taken years to make it to the big screen. Originally due out in December of this year, Paramount announced that it would be pushing back the release date of the film to June 2013 for unspecified reasons.

It might have been had something to do with the fact that undead uprisings don't exactly scream Christmas movie, or that the $125 million film would be better suited for a summer release, but when the word "reshoots" started cropping up, it became clear that there was more behind the studio's decision.

The Marc Forster ("Quantum of Solace") zombie apocalypse film has some serious star power attached to it, in the form of actor/producer Brad Pitt and a stellar ensemble cast. Pitt plays Gerry Lane, a United Nations investigator who survived a zombie pandemic that nearly destroyed the world and is now trying to document the incredible stories of other survivors. However, Pitt's celebrity status hasn't stopped the movie from hitting nearly every possible speed bump on its production journey, including budget issues and a run-in with a real-life Hungarian counter-terrorist team who seized the film's guns.

"World War Z's" grueling, world-spanning production wrapped last year, but the studio was apparently not happy with the first cut of the film and subsequently scheduled an astounding seven weeks of reshoots. To put that in perspective, the entirety of many major Hollywood movies are filmed in less time than that. The return to production is also problematic for the film's sprawling cast, given that many of them have already moved on to other projects and will be unavailable. To say that "WWZ" is in trouble would be an understatement.

In addition to the reshoots, Paramount have reportedly enlisted "Lost" and "Prometheus" writer Damon Lindelof to help rewrite the film's third act. Those at Paramount hoping that Lindelof can salvage the film clearly haven't seen the recently released "Prometheus," which utterly falls apart during its climax. We imagine the Lindelof ending for "WWZ" will feature Brad Pitt turning to the camera to ask the audience where they thought the zombies came from, and will then cut to a "Lost"-style montage of the film's characters set to piano music.

What makes this whole debacle particularly odd is that typically rewrites happen before a film starts shooting, not after principle photography has wrapped. Already over budget, these reshoots and rewrites do not bode well for "World War Z." The terrifying subject matter made for a great book, but despite some of the talent involved in "World War Z," it's looking increasingly unlikely that the film will measure up to the source material.

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