Cinema News and Reviews for the Rest of Us

The ‘World War Z’ film is in trouble

After the tragic demise of Guillermo del Toro’s At The Mountains of Madness adaptation, it seems another promising genre epic may be on the chopping block.  Paramount is threatening to pull the plug on the adaptation of Max Brook’s acclaimed zombie epic World War Z, which was set to be directed by Quantum of Solace helmer Marc Forster and to star Brad Pitt, whose production company Plan B first got behind the project over two years ago.  Unsurprisingly, Paramount balked at the proposed $125 million budget, but Pitt and others associated with the film have insisted on a large number, since the allure of the book is its incredibly expansive and visceral depiction of a worldwide zombie apocalypse, which would of course cost money to visualize.  The different between this situation and del Toro’s, however, is that Forster is willing to work with a revenue-friendly PG-13.  Having read the book, I’m not ecstatic about such a compromise, but the grand-scale terror and sense of panic could be achieved without explicit gore.  It’s just that usually such dilution leads to a general lack of edge, but Forster did a good job of unleashing convincing PG-13 carnage in his Bond flick, so I’d remain optimistic, especially since the script has long been lauded as one of the best unproduced genre pieces out there.

So anyway, Paramount won’t let this thing go ahead without additional money, and it now seems possible that David Ellison may come to save the day.  One of the most intriguing new figures in film industry, Ellison is an heir to the Oracle fortune, and along with his sister he has made it a hobby to financially support films he’d like to see made.  Talk about an awesome hobby.  While his sister Maggie has more indie sympathies (and bless her for that), David has more of a genre sensibility, and he’s displayed interest in helping World War Z into production.  Here’s hoping he comes to the rescue, and the promising zombie epic many have been clamoring for is able to see the light of day.

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