‘World War Z’ Director Says Production Woes Were Exaggerated


World War Z, Brad Pitt’s ambitious zombie epic, is finally in theaters. Surprisingly, people seem to think it’s a pretty decent movie. Why is that such a surprise? Because reports have long suggested that production on the film was extremely troubled, leading many to predict that World War Z would be a gigantic box office flop.

Early reports alleged that director Marc Forster had an incredibly contentious relationship with Pitt on the set of the film, that the script was subjected to constant re-writes, and that the film’s marketing push was misguided at best. Additionally, the original release set for December 2012 was pushed back six months, which is always a sign of trouble (especially when the delay is due to extensive re-shoots).

But World War Z is out, and it’s doing well. Is the film’s success just a happy accident?

It’s more like all of the controversy surrounding the movie was overblown, according to the director.

In an interview with Deadline, Forster said that the film’s re-shoots and script re-writes weren’t really as bad as we were lead to believe. He implies that the studio was indeed unsatisfied with the film’s original ending, but that when they all went back to the drawing board, they came up with an ending that was even better than what they originally had in mind.

“The original third act, with its big battle, was like every Hollywood movie,” Forster said.

“It’s that big set piece, and it’s all about bigger and louder than everything else that came before it. […] Damon and Drew wrote what became exactly the movie I had in my head. It became a more personal journey, where you could connect with Brad in what felt like a haunted house setting. This way, the tension always shifts in the movie, but it never peaks, like a nice piece of music. I haven’t seen that quietly intense an ending in a blockbuster-size film before.”

Forster also talked about the rumors that he and Pitt stopped talking during filming. Turns out, that was overblown, too.

“I would read that Brad Pitt and I had no communication, and we would look at each other and say, where could this come from? Is somebody just making up these stories?”

For the full interview, head over to Deadline. Have you seen World War Z yet? What did you think of the film?