Malta-filmed World War Z in serious trouble

Produced and starring Brad Pitt, the big-budget zombie film World War Z is facing serious problems.

Embattled: partly filmed in Malta and originally set for a December release, the Brad Pitt-starring zombie film World War Z has been pushed back to June 2013.
Embattled: partly filmed in Malta and originally set for a December release, the Brad Pitt-starring zombie film World War Z has been pushed back to June 2013.

Hollywood sources have reported over the weekend that the Brad Pitt starring zombie film World War Z - partly filmed in Malta and originally set for a December release - has had its release date pushed back to June 2013 due to critical production problems.

Sources have claimed that the production is gearing up for reshoots, and will be undergoing extensive rewrites - with production company Paramount hiring Prometheus screenwriter Damon Lindelof to allegedly rewrite the film's third act.

It remains uncertain whether the production will return to Malta while it undergoes these overhauls.

In a substantial analysis by The Hollywood Reporter, sources are quoted as saying that the ambitious production - based on a bestselling satirical novel by Max Brooks - ran into trouble early, with director Marc Forster not having a clear vision of what the film's zombies will look like, as late as three weeks into the production.  

Hand-picked by Brad Pitt - who is also World War Z's co-producer - Forster himself appears to have been a problematic choice. The German-Swiss director had attracted Oscar attention with his Halle Barry-starring drama Monster's Ball in 2001, but the fact remains that he lacks the experience to helm a big budget action film like World War Z, as the only film on his CV that comes close to the genre is the 2008 James Bond film The Quantum of Solace.

In fact, sources within the production have said that Forster was having trouble coordinating the various elements that come into play during a production of World War Z's magnitude - including special effects. 

It is also said that Forster was not allowed to bring his usual production team along with him, with the studio instead foisting more seasoned cinematographers and effects-people on him, leading to a working environment described as "headless" and lacking any real direction. 

Adapting the source material could also have been an early stumbling block. Brooks's novel isn't just a 'straight' post-apocalyptic zombie narrative, and the author - the son of iconic Hollywood satirist Mel Brooks - uses the zombie genre to expand on socio-political issues. In interviews last year, Pitt hinted at wanting to exploit this complexity for the film too... though how a big studio production - costed at over $170 million - squares with this is bound to be a problematic matter.

And the fact that Paramount has not just called for reshoots and rewrites, but reshuffled key members of the production too, hints that such a singular vision for the film might be compromised even further. 

 

 

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