When it comes to "World War Z," Paramount is hoping that 12 months from now, everything they're sweating today will be nothing but a scary dream.
The zombie film, produced by Brad Pitt's production company and based on the celebrated book of the same name by Max Brooks, started principal filming last July, but has since been plagued with a rash of production debacles. The most recent is that the film's budget has increased more than $170 million and is now slated for five weeks or more of re-shoots.
Trouble emerged early: Three weeks before shooting was to begin in June 2011, sources say Forster had not made critical decisions about what the zombies would look like and how they would move. “They just couldn’t get it right,” one insider says. “There was a lot of spinning of plates, a lot of talking. [But] they did not have a plan.”
“The director was not empowered,” says one insider. “There was nobody that steered the ship. … When you get [a director] who can’t do it all … you get a struggle as to whose is the singular voice.”
Related: 'World War Z' set clip shows zombie infection
According to another source, “It’s a great first 45 minutes, maybe even an hour." But it's the latter half that has Paramount nervous. “The footage from this film looks fantastic, but we all agreed it can have a better ending,” Paramount film group President Adam Goodman tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Getting the ending correct is essential, and we are in that creative process. 'World War Z' is a giant summer movie, and we are confident it will be a global hit when it’s released June 2013.”
Issues surrounding "World War Z" — which stars Brad Pitt as United Nations worker Gerry Lane — are even more troubling considering the early script reviews that gushed over its potential to redefine the zombie genre. "This isn't just a good adaptation of a difficult book ... it's a genre-defining piece of work that could well see us all arguing about whether or not a zombie movie qualifies as Best Picture material," AintItCoolNews.com said.
Since then, there have been various rewrites, which may explain some of the trouble the studio now finds itself in. Unfortunately, the studio's recent hiring of screenwriter Damon Lindelof to fix the third act may only make things even more horrific, according to some critics.
"Great," joked one commenter on Hollywood Reporter
. "Glad to see the guy who wrote 'Cowboys and Aliens' and 'Prometheus' (the only significant criticism the film seems to be getting is its weak script) is on the job. I'm sure it'll be brilliant."
Reshoots are scheduled to begin in September. "World War Z" is (currently) slated for a June 21, 2013 release.