World War Z has serious problems with more to come
It's not looking good for the film version of World War Z as recent rumours had word that there were going to be some reshoots, and while they are common on almost all films, this rumour had the reshoots sounding as though they were pretty extensive.
Now there's a more shocking announcement, it is indeed waiting for rather significant reshoots, but worse than that a new writer has been hired for the film. Yes, you heard me right, a writer has been hired for the film that's already been filmed.
This story can't be anything but bad news for the film, surely.
I had thought that when we heard that the excellent World War Z (Amazon.co.uk) by Max Brooks was getting adapted to film by J. Michael Straczynski we were going to be onto a winner. To be honest I couldn't see how the film World War Z could work but Straczynski seemed to have a plan and a way to bring the book and film together and said he was being faithful to the book.
An online review of the script seemed to suggest my expectations were right and that the story was going to be strong, but I was concerned. I still couldn't get a handle on how this massive story that interviewed survivors of a worldwide zombie outbreak survived it all could work, after all the book tells their stories as they are interviewed, not so much as they are happening.
It wasn't long before we were hearing about the changes for the film and how it was going to be following the interviewee as he wrote his book and interviewed these people, but also how it would flashback to the actual events that they were talking about as well as his own experiences. That sounded like a fair compromise, but again I was expecting Hollywood to swing it right towards the action.
Matthew Michael Carnahan stepped on board and rewrote the script, and while that didn't necessarily mean it would lose the intelligence it did mean there would be more action, and Carnahan is a damn good writer too. It was just the fact that the new writer and rewrites were here and the news of the delays.
Then stories started arriving about problems with the budget, about the need for another investor, and the sheer scale, and there were more concerns to be had. Mind you, we don't always cheer at the good stories.
So we were all expecting it to happen, but then those rumours arrived about reshoots through the Daily Mail. Now they aren't necessarily a reliable source, but if they were true then it might not mean anything either, after all just about every film has reshoots to some degree. This might simply be anything from additional filming for footage they discovered they needed in the editing room or for new scenes that weren't working as expected, and these shoots could be anything from a few hours to weeks. It's not always shock horror news.
Here though the rumour was that these reshoots were big. No more was said until The Hollywood Reporter delivered a story yesterday that was rather surprising, not only were those reshoots going to be happening and they were extensive, but another new writer is on the project.
Wait. The film is finished and they are reshooting scenes, why do they need a new writer?
Damon Lindelof has been brought on board to, as the article says, "save" the World War Z film for Paramount. They say the film is waiting "significant reshoots" and apparently Lindelof is set to be focussing on the third act of the film.
So will they be shooting scenes that he writes to change the third act? It does sound like that is what's going to be happening and it's possible that when the cut of World War Z was seen it was decided that it just didn't work, perhaps screening results were terrible who knows, but the outcome is clear, there's a new writer coming in to work on the ending and reshoots are planned.
This is not going well for World War Z.
Well, that's one way to look at it, the other is that the ending of the film didn't work well and they're about to try and save it, although I have to wonder if Damon Lindelof is the man to do that. He's written a few feature films now, Cowboys & Aliens (Filmstalker review), Prometheus (Filmstalker review) and he's working on the new Star Trek film as we speak, so is he the one to save World War Z? Frankly, after seeing Prometheus, I'd say definitely not and I wonder if the choice is rather reactionary to the level of work he's receiving and not the quality of work he's delivering.