Tag Archive | "Marc Forster"

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Director Marc Forster Won’t Be Back For WORLD WAR Z Sequel

Posted on 04 October 2013 by Rich Drees


World War Z was one of the surprising hits of the summer. Not because no one knew anything about the film before it opened, but because everyone knew everything about it. The stories of its tortured production were the meat for a number news reports for months, and the fact that director Marc Forster and star/producer Brad Pitt gutted the film’s third act for a drastic and expensive reshoot seemed to indicate that there was indeed major trouble on the project. But the film connected with audiences and since it managed to bring in over half a billion dollars worldwide, it is perhaps inevitable that they are moving forward with a sequel.

It is just that that sequel will not have the participation of Forster.

In a Hollywood Reporter story on Pitt’s Plan B production shingle, the potential World War Z sequel is mentioned but it is stated that “director Marc Forster won’t be back.”

And honestly that’s probably for the best.

I’m going to discount the reports that Pitt and Forster did not get along on the set, though that probably did play a factor into whomever decided to end the relationship between the two.

Instead, I’m going to focus on the why they had to basically reshoot the final third of the film at a cost of millions of extras dollars, making the risky project that much more of a financial gamble. And that’s because Forester completely threw out the original script that screenwriter J Michael Straczynski had written from Max Brooks’ original novel and brought in an entirely new writer. At the time it didn’t make much sense to me, and even now it still doesn’t. Straczynski’s draft was good enough that it got mentioned on the 2007 Black List, was gaining lots of praise in industry press and was the thing that got the studio first excited about the project. And, having read it myself, I found it to be an amazing bit of storytelling, taking the premise of a zombie outbreak and truly making it global, while at the same time taking the unorthodox structure of Max Brooks’ original novel and turning it into a more linear narrative and making it film-able.

marc-forsterBut upon Forster’s hiring, he immediately threw out the two drafts that Straczynski wrote, something which Brooks indicated to me was a stupid idea, and brought in Matthew Michael Carnahan to completely rewrite the screenplay, and in my opinion dumb it down to a more general blockbuster level that ejected much of the subtly and smart material that the Straczynski drafts contained. And in the process added a third act that was sprawling and expensive and ultimately, as was found out after tens of millions of dollars had been spent trying to shoot it, didn’t work. I don’t blame Pitt and Plan B for not wanting to continue working with a director whose instincts cost them millions of dollars.

While there is the old saying “You go into battle with the army you have, not the army you wish you had,” and the same applies to filmmaking as well. But no matter what kind of army you have, if the battle plan is so flawed that it takes some major on-the-fly changes and the cost of more resources to achieve victory, than the plan is still a failure. And the general responsible, should be removed from command. In this case, that general is Marc Forster, and his removal from a World War Z sequel is a most welcome piece of news.

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First WORLD WAR Z Trailer Looks Fairly Epic

Posted on 08 November 2012 by Rich Drees

After a long production schedule that was extended by reshoots, World War Z is finally getting ready for release and the first trailer for the film has just been released.

I have to admit that I have been rather down on the project ever since it was apparent that director Marc Forester was moving away from J. Michael Straczynski’s rather faithful adaptation of Max Brooks’s original novel towards a more linear approach. Still, it does look like it has retained some elements of the book, specifically a variation of the Battle of Yonkers. While it might not be a faithful adaptation of the book, it looks like World War Z is going to be a fairly epic zombie movie.

World War Z opens June 21st, 2013.

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WORLD WAR Z Getting Extensive 7 Weeks Of Reshoots

Posted on 04 June 2012 by Rich Drees

These days it is not unusual for a film’s cast to be reassembled for additional shooting months after the production had originally wrapped. It is often a good way for a director to add some shots he has discovered while editing that he still needs. However, a reshoot period for a film as long as this is virtually unheard of.

The Daily Mail is reporting that director Marc Forster’s adaption of Max Brooks’s zombie novel World War Z has just scheduled seven weeks of worth of reshoots in Budapest.

To give you an example of how unusual this amount of time is, some smaller films are shot entirely in seven weeks. But the last time that there was a series of reshoots this extensive was for the Exorcist prequel nearly a decade ago and you may remember how that whole fiasco turned out.

I have to admit that although I enjoyed the book, at this point I don’t have high hopes for the film. The book was considered a tricky adaption due to the its story being told through a collection of government documents and eyewitness accounts of a zombie uprising. J Michael Straczynski managed to structure a screenplay that received a lot of good buzz as well as praise from Brooks himself. However, after director Marc Forster signed on to the project, a new writer in the form of Matthew Michael Carnahan reportedly gave the film a more straightforward narrative structure. It was a move that Brooks appeared to be unhappy about.

As a director, Forster has never shown much facility for onscreen action. I found the action sequences of both Quantum Of Solace and Machine Gun Preacher to be muddled and at times downright confusing. And there is no doubt that this film will need a strong action director at its helm.

This latest news does not do much to instill confidence, but perhaps the reshoots are to move the film back to its original structure. Could we be that lucky?

World War Z hits theaters in June 2013.

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Paramount Looking To Stretch WORLD WAR Z Into A Trilogy

Posted on 05 January 2012 by Rich Drees

Let’s face it, the studios all hope that any new film they release will be successful enough to spawn a franchise. It should come as no surprise then that Paramount has plans to expand their upcoming adaption of Max Brooks’ zombie novel World War Z into a trilogy if the film turns out to be a hit.

The news comes from a LA Times interview with World War Z star and producer Brad Pitt, with the paper describing the film’s tone as having “the grounded, gun-metal realism of, say, [Matt] Damon’s Jason Bourne [film] series tethered to the unsettling end-times vibe of AMC’s The Walking Dead.”

In the film, direct by Quantum Of Solace‘s Marc Forster, Pitt is playing Gerry Lane, a UN fact finder racing to the cause of a zombie outbreak that threatens the globe.

Given the nature of Brooks’ book, there is certainly a lot of material to plumb for potential sequels. For the uninitiated, the book is presented as a collection of records, interviews and documents gathered after the zombie outbreak had been contained that attempts to explain how the situation spread out of control. The original screenplay for the project by J. Michael Straczynski kept this conceit and had its main character traveling the country collecting the stories and documents that are found in the book. Reportedly, script rewrites from Matthew Michael Carnahan have given the film a more straightforward narrative structure, which I have to confess I find the prospect of a bit disappointing. If enough people by tickets next December following the film’s release we’ll get to see how they intend to take the book and flesh out a further story.

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Mireille Enos In Talks For WORLD WAR Z

Posted on 26 April 2011 by Rich Drees

The zombie apocalypse shown in Max Brooks’ novel World War Z is shuffling ever closer to the big screen as we have our first casting announcement outside of star Bard Pitt’s long attachment.

Mireille Enos, star of AMC’s series The Killing, is in talks to star opposite Pitt in the upcoming film. She would be playing the wife of Pitt’s UN worker tasked with investigating the origins of an outbreak of zombies which swept around the world ten years earlier.

The film is set to begin production in June with shooting in London, Malta and other locations. Quantum Of Solace‘s Marc Forster is directing with Pitt’s Plan B production house producing.

Via The Hollywood Reporter‘s Heat Vision blog.

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WORLD WAR Z May Have Some Life After All

Posted on 30 March 2011 by Rich Drees

Paramount’s troubles in finding a co-financier for their adaptation of Max Brooks’ zombie novel World War Z may be over. Deadline is reporting that the studio is currently in negotiations with David Ellison and his production company Skydance “and as many as two other financiers” to help shoulder the projected $125 million cost of the project.

Last week, it was looking doubtful that Paramount would proceed with the project without a co-production deal with someone. Ellison was mentioned as a possible candidate, as Skydance already was working with Paramount on their upcoming films Mission: Impossible IV and Top Gun II.

The film will star Brad Pitt and focus on a UN researcher investigating the cause of a world wide zombie outbreak ten years after the fact. Marc Forster is set to direct.

Once the financing deal(s) go through, the plan appears to have the film in production by June. And Paramount needs to hurry, if they want to beat the horde of zombie projects currently shuffling towards cinemas. In addition to a sequel to Zombieland and new installments in the 28 Days Later and Resident Evil franchises,  there are at least four other zombie projects in development right now. Two scripts that were on last year’s Black List – The Kitchen Sink and Boy Scouts Vs Zombies – have been bought and are being worked on. Jonah Hill is already attached to direct Kitchen Sink, which features some teenagers allying themselves with a zombie and a vampire to fight off an alien invasion. Sony has recently made a deal with Platinum Dunes to adapt the indie comic Zombies Vs Robots. But the most intriguing project has to be Paul Is Undead, a comedy which retells the story of the Beatles as if they were zombies.

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Paramount Looking For WORLD WAR Z Co-Financing

Posted on 24 March 2011 by Rich Drees

Will the zombie apocalypse be called off on account of lack of money?

That is a distinct possibility according to NY Magazine’s Vulture blog,which is reporting that Paramount is currently looking for someone to co-finance their in development adaptation of Max Brooks’ seminal zombie novel World War Z. The film currently has a price tag of $125 million, so Paramount has allegedly approached frequent co-financing partner David Ellison (who has already committed to Paramount’s upcoming Mission: Impossible IV and Top Gun II) as well as another, unspecified investor to share the expense.

While Vulture quotes Paramount Film Group president Adam Goodman as saying, “We’re really committed to making a big, kick-ass giant movie with [director] Marc Forster and [star] Brad Pitt,” they also state that Goodman claimed it was “too early to tell” if the studio would move ahead on the film without co-financing in place.

If Paramount isn’t able to find someone to split the bill with, I rather doubt that they would proceed with World War Z on their own. Studios have become increasingly conscious of the high price of their big budget tentpole films of late and are always looking to spread some of the cost among production partners. Just a few weeks ago Universal pulled the plug on Guillermo Del Toro’s long in development At The Mountains Of Madness over concerns whether the planned R rated horror film could make back at the box office its estimated $150 million budget. Foster’s contract stipulates that he would shoot for a PG-13 rating with World War Z, so theoretically the film would have an easier time at the box office than an R rated Mountains in terms of to whom they could sell tickets.

It would be a shame if Paramount does cancel the film. J Michael Straczynski’s initial drafts for the film were something that exceeded the zombie film genre in an exciting way. While there are many horror films that contain a certain amount of subtext, Straczynski’s drafts drew some solid real world parallels that would have made it a new high mark in the genre. When Forster was brought on board, he hired to do some rewrites on the script. I can’t say what he was instructed to do, though I would guess that there was probably a note to reign in some of the epic scope of Straczynski’s drafts. It Would be a shame if the filmmakers had tried everything they could do to make the film affordable to make only to have it be cancelled over budgetary issues anyway.

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Paramount Getting Ready For WORLD WAR Z?

Posted on 23 April 2010 by Rich Drees

Is Paramount finally gearing up to go ahead with their long in development adaptation of the best seller World War Z? Max Brooks, the author of the book, seems to think so.

Brooks spoke with Fear Net recently and gave them this update –

Paramount just renewed the option for World War Z, for half the time and twice the money, so that might signal interest. We still got our director, Marc Forster, who’s raring to go. Were all waiting on Matt Carnahan’s new draft, which should come in a month or so. Once that comes in then I think it probably will have to be tweaked and brought to the studio but we’re sort of zeroing in on that moment where Paramount has to say yes or no.

Well, he certainly sounds a bit more upbeat about the project than he did when we talked to him last summer at the Philadelphia WizardWorld show. Then, he sounded a bit disappointed that the initial screenplay for the adaption written by Babylon 5 television series creator J. Michale Straczynski was undergoing a rewrite at the hands of another writer at the insistence of recently hired director Marc Forster. (Brooks is an avowed Babylon 5 fan.)

And while Brooks sees the renewal as a sign that the studio is seriously considering the film a greenlight, it is by no means a sure thing.

I think the size of the book, the scope of the book, makes it hard to produce, in that this thing’s gotta be done right or it just can’t be done. You can’t do a cheap and dirty World War Z. It’s a world war, and I think that makes studio executives nervous. I think it limits its options, so that’s running against it.

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UPDATED: Max Brooks- WORLD WAR Z Getting New Writer

Posted on 20 June 2009 by Rich Drees

At last year‘s Wizard World Philadelphia comic convention, World War Z author Max Brooks was excited that J. Michael Straczynski was penning the big screen adaptation of his zombie apocalypse novel for Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment. As a fan of Straczynski’s science-fiction series Babylon 5, Brooks stated that he was “thrilled that they hired a writer who not only understands science fiction, but who also understands history and politics and emotions.”

In the intervening 12 months between then and this afternoon, Straczynski had turned in two drafts and Quantum Of Solace director Marc Forster was attached to the project. And in the last few days, reports have begun circulating that Forster feels that the script needs further work and is looking for a new writer.

Brooks confirmed that this was the situation earlier today, when we talked to him on the convention floor at this year’s Wizard World Philadelphia convention. Brooks was appearing to help promote the upcoming publication of his Zombie Survival Guide graphic novel coming in October from Avatar Press and Random House.

“I believe they have a new writer on board,” Brooks stated. Then adding with a hint of sarcasm, “Because you know, Straczynski apparently can’t write science-fiction, so naturally they need a new guy.”

But besides knowing that a new screenwriter is being brought aboard, Brooks confesses to not knowing too much more about what is going on behind the scenes with the film.

“It’s still rolling along,” he said. “They renewed the option on it, so apparently they still want to make it. But that’s about all I know.”

And although he wrote for Saturday Night Live for two seasons, if Plan B were to approach him to take a crack at the screenplay himself, Brooks stated that he would definitely pass on the opportunity.

“Never,” he stated emphatically. “I don’t want to go near that movie. They’re going to kill my baby and I don’t want to help them.”

Update: Straczynski also addressed the issue of the World War Z script this weekend in an online post-

This is just part of the feature business, especially once a director comes on board, who may have ideas of his own that he wants to incorporate and the original writer has gone through all the contractual drafts, so that either you re-hire the same guy, or bring in fresh eyes.

So yes, another pair of hands is now working to simplify the script, which has always been as much a political thriller as an action film, into something a bit more straightforward.

Thanks to Jan S. for pointing us  towards the JMS quote.

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Posted on 14 November 2008 by Rich Drees

Let’s face it. There are a lot of expectations sitting on this movie.

When the James Bond franchise reinvented itself in 2006 with Casino Royale, audiences and critics were pleasantly surprised with its new found sense of realism and character development. Taking Bond to his first days as a top agent with a license to kill for Her Majesty’s Secret Service lets the series truly explore that psyche of its main character, something it had been hesitant to do to any degree in its four decades of existence.

Quantum Of Solace picks up right where Casino Royale left off, both literally and figuratively. The new film continues the exploration of Bond’s development into the detached killer that creator Ian Fleming described in his series of books that inspired the film franchise.

And as for those expectations, Quantum Of Solace does a good job at fulfilling most of them.

Continue Reading Review…

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