Brad Pitt covers Vanity Fair’s June issue, VF says ‘WWZ’ could be a total disaster

Brad Pitt covers the June issue of Vanity Fair. The cover shot is freaking me out a little bit. It’s not that Brad looks bad or anything, it just feels like they Photoshopped his eyes or something. He looks sort of like a zombie – which might be on purpose, considering the cover story doesn’t seem to be a straight-forward celebrity profile, but rather a profile of how much it cost to make World War Z and how difficult it was for everyone involved. Brad has put a lot of his Hollywood power on the line, and I’m sure he’s lost professional friendships because of World War Z. Will it be worth it in the end? Will WWZ end up making money? Also: there are some concerns that Brad didn’t even sit down for a photoshoot with VF, that this is an outtake from a photoshoot he did with the New York Times two years ago. Well… at least it’s not a dead celebrity. Here’s the VF cover story excerpt:

“He took me through how excited he was when he read the book, what was exciting for him, the geopolitical aspect of it,” screenwriter Damon Lindelof tells Vanity Fair contributor Laura M. Holson in the June issue of Vanity Fair of meeting Brad Pitt to discuss the star’s troubled zombie project, World War Z.

Lindelof says Pitt explained, “‘But when we started working on the script, a lot of that stuff had to fall away for the story to come together. We started shooting the thing before we locked down how it was going to end up, and it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.’” The actor asked him to watch an edit, and told him, “The thing we really need right now is someone who is not burdened by all the history that this thing is inheriting, who can see what we’ve got and tell us how to get to where we need to get.” Lindelof tells Holson the ending was abrupt and incoherent, but more importantly they were missing a large chunk of footage.

In her revealing report, Holson also speaks to director Marc Forster and Paramount executives Marc Evans and Adam Goodman about the many problems that plagued the set—which included re-writing and reshooting 40 minutes of the film to find a coherent ending—and, most astonishingly, how the budget ballooned to around $200 million.

While closing down the production in Malta, for instance, the wrap-up crew found a stack of purchase orders related to the cast and extras that had been casually tossed into a desk drawer and forgotten; the amount totaled in the millions of dollars. Marc Evans, president of production at Paramount, was shocked. He calls the overages an “unthinkable action” which needed to be addressed immediately. “It was literally insane. Adam [Goodman, president of the Paramount Film Group] and I believed we’d gotten out of Malta good, and I found out we weren’t. That is a nightmare.”

When it came time to watch the director’s cut, Holson reports, the room was silent. “It was, like, Wow. The ending of our movie doesn’t work,” says Evans. “I believed in that moment we needed to reshoot the movie.” After 10 minutes of polite discussion, everyone left. “We were going to have long, significant discussions to fix this,” he recalls thinking.

“I said to them, There are two roads to go down here,” says Lindelof. “Is there material that can be written to make that stuff work better? To have it make sense? To have it have emotional stakes? And plot logic and all that? And Road Two, which I think is the long-shot road, is that everything changes after Brad leaves Israel.” That meant throwing out the entire Russian battle scene—or about 12 minutes of footage—and crafting a new ending. “I didn’t think anyone was going to say, ‘Let’s throw it out and try something else,’ ” Lindelof recalls. “So when I gave them those two roads and they sounded more interested in Road B”—which meant shooting an additional 30 to 40 minutes of the movie—“I was like, ‘To be honest with you, good luck selling that to Paramount.’ ”

[From Vanity Fair]

I am pretty interested in reading this just because we’ve spent the past two years talking about the disastrous production and all of the angst and drama that came along with trying to film the unfilmable story. I think it’s interesting that this excerpt doesn’t include any quotes from director Marc Forster, or even anyone giving his point of view. That’s probably because Forster is being thrown under the bus. NY Magazine reported last year that Brad wasn’t even speaking to Marc when it got time for the reshoots, and that everyone’s nerves were frayed and Marc got a lot of the blame for it.

Photos courtesy of Vanity Fair, NYT & Fame/Flynet.

 

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104 Responses to “Brad Pitt covers Vanity Fair’s June issue, VF says ‘WWZ’ could be a total disaster”

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  1. Earth to Kelly says:

    I’ll still go see it :)

  2. Lucretia says:

    I loved the book, and I hope this is good. Based on the trailers, I’m going to see it.

    • LadyMTL says:

      I loved the book too, but I’m on the fence about this. From what I’ve seen / heard the movie bears very little resemblance to the book (like…where did this family come from?) but hopefully it’ll still be a decent film.

      TBH my brother will probably coerce me into going because he loves anything zombie related, lol.

  3. Lb says:

    I loved the book. I’ll probably watch it. I usually end up watching everything Brad Pitt is in anyway, though it isn’t intentional. He’s a pretty good actor.

  4. Toot says:

    I plan to see it too. The latest trailer really got me into it.

  5. Bianca says:

    The cover shot instantly reminded me of this: http://brittonmitchell.webs.com/MrSparkleFinalR2.jpg

    Way too Mr. Sparkle.

  6. Jess says:

    It really sounds like it’s going to be a mess. Maybe an interesting or enjoyable mess, but a mess nonetheless. I feel bad for Forster as nothing I’ve read suggests he was ever really running the show. It just seems like he was a director for hire in regards to this particular film, but if it’s a disaster apparently it’s all on him.

    That cover is dreadful. If you have a blurred background, the subject should be in sharp focus (as shown in the second pic). Brad has a lot of lines at this point, so if you aren’t willing to put that on the cover, choose a softer photo rather than haphazardly (and obviously; was the person who did this new to airbrushing?) blurring out wrinkles.

    • Sade says:

      Yep, this will be a mess. The only question is will it be a “Waterworld” mess or a “Godzilla” mess. You know a film sucks when the marketting strategy is to talk down expectations. Lol.

      After Tree of Life, my girlfriends and I swore to boycott Brad Pitt forever, but i may find a pirated copy to gauge how bad it really is,

      • evyn says:

        You forgot “Battleship.”

        Hopefully, the movie will turn out alright. They had the same doom and gloom predictions for “Titanic.”
        Unfortunately, WWZ is opening the same day as Pixar’s “Monster University.”

      • doofus says:

        “The only question is will it be a “Waterworld” mess or a “Godzilla” mess.”

        ok, that made me chuckle, even tho I’m not quite sure what you meant by it…can you elaborate? I mean, I acknowledge that they were both messes, but how do they differ, mess-wise?

      • kennedy says:

        Are you saying that you hated Tree of Life? Wow. It’s probably one of my favorite films of 2011 and features a career best performance by Mr. Pitt. In fact, I think it is Malick’s best film since Badlands. LOVED it. I hope you give it a second chance. It’s so beautiful and I always weep at the end. Hunter McCracken is amazing in it too. As is Jessica Chastain.

      • Ducky la Rue says:

        @Kennedy, +1 on the Tree of Life, as I also loved it (although Thin Red Line is still my favorite).

        But I would call Tree of Life a Terrence Malick film, not a Brad Pitt film – and Malick’s films are not to everyone’s tastes. Maybe the OP was thinking because Brad Pitt was in it that it was going to be a standard drama?

      • Snark says:

        Tree of Life was booed at Caane and then snubbed for major awards for good reason. It was too pretentous and self important even for Malik. And Brad was woefully miscast and out of his depth it was sad. Thank the gods for Sean Penn, atleast hes dependable if under used in this film.

        Tree is Terrence Maliks worst film and i am fan. If it werent for the stunning cinematography, I would say it was the worst film of that year. Phew! Glad I got that off my chest.

      • Ducky La Rue says:

        @Snark – Oh, I know that the reception for Tree of Life was mixed, but speaking only for myself, I found it really moving and beautiful. And, it’s funny, but I found Sean Penn little more than a cipher in that movie, so we’re definitely coming at it from different angles! :-)

        My least favorite Malik film was The New World. Beautiful film, but it just left me cold. (And I think we’re getting off topic now, so I’ll stop here.)

      • Monica says:

        @snark wow so much false info in your post. Tree of Life won the BIGGEST award at Cannes so it obviously wasnt that bad and it went on to become nominated for best picture at the Oscars

      • LAK says:

        Snark – what @monica said regarding Cannes and The Academy.

      • Jakaya says:

        Twihards have nothing on Branjeloonies. The jeering and walk outs at the screening were widely reported. Only Chris Brown fans revise history more than the loons or are more defensive for that matter. Lol

      • Sal says:

        Jakaya, sorry but you’ve clearly never met the Anistonloonies. Brangeloonies and the twihards have nothing on the Anistonloonies. Loonistons revise history and do moral gymnastics better than any other fangroup, and they are more vicious and psychotic in their hatred (including wishing innocent children die). They make Twihards and Brangeloonies look sane like a mother’s knitting club.

    • NM9005 says:

      Mess indeed. The expectations for the opening numbers aren’t that high either. The pushed back dates said a lot. It only went downhill from there on (the Hollywood Reporter’s articles on the production mess). And sorry but Pitt thinking that Lindelof of all people was a good choice, damn what is wrong with his decision making skills?! Even Lindelof can see it’s a mess, that is very telling.

      And now the talking down expectations…oh dear. Plus, with all the good films coming up (and IM 3 smashing the BO), I predict a flop or mediocre opening compared to other films despite Pitt’s star power. He’s up against Man of Steel and Box Office Mojo predicts it will hurt the numbers of WWZ.

  7. lisa2 says:

    I will be there opening day.. the responses from the early screening has been very positive. They love it at CinemaCon.. and I have seem several reviews from people that have seen the early footage that it was good.

    This article was done months ago. So I think the fact that there is some positive response is a good thing..

    Looking forward to the Zombie Invasion.

  8. Mira says:

    I’d love to read the screenplay of the movie. The book is a series of interviews ten years after the first attack. It’s about people recollecting the first time they witnessed zombies and the anarchy unleashed in the process. I kept thinking about the screenplay all the while reading the book. I hope the movie reflects at least some of the government and bureaucratic ineptitude, corruption, disaster management issues etc talked at length in the book.

    • Janet says:

      I read the book also. I wondered how they were going to be able to put it on screen. When you have that many story lines going at once, it’s very difficult to put them all together into a coherent script. However, the trailer looked good. I’ll probably go see it.

      • whipmyhair says:

        I think if they had taken a love actually approach to the script with an ensemble cast it would work, but having a headliner I’m not so sure. But I really have no idea what it’s going to look like.
        What annoys me is that in the trailer is that the zombies run. In the book they talk about being able to power walk away from them. What makes them terrifying is their relentlessness, not their speed.

        But I will go and see it. During the day. And I will watch a lot of Disney before going to sleep so I will be able to sleep and not think of my zombie plan…

      • Rhea says:

        @whipmyhair—>”I will watch a lot of Disney before going to sleep so I will be able to sleep and not think of my zombie plan…” :D Good idea.

      • Mira says:

        Janet – Agree. The interviews happen all over the world. Of course there are more interviews from within the US. I’m curious about the plot line in the movie. I’m sure they have a conventional plot line considering the budget. The emphasis will also be on the US and it’s role in fighting the zombie war.

        The book can definitely be adapted but it’ll be more interesting in a documentary, real time, gritty style. Also with an ensemble cast from around the world, like whimpyhair suggested. Looks like Brad aimed for a summer blockbuster and therefore the execution is very blockbustery. I’ll see it nevertheless.

      • Janet says:

        @Mira: I think the ONLY way you could adapt this book to the screen, and remain faithful to the book, would be to do a mini-series. With so many stories happening in so many different places, you would need anywhere from 10 to 15 episodes to tell them all.

      • Mira says:

        Janet – ITA. A mini-series would be perfect. Did you read Sarah’s article Lainey Gossip? According to the article Pitt and co changed the screenplay written by JM Straczynski. I don’t know about it but if Sarah is to believed, JM’s script was apparently far superior.

      • Cletus says:

        I also wondered that. I hope it’s not all piece-mealy and weird. What I mean to say is, I hope my ADHD-addled brain will be able to follow it.

  9. lucy2 says:

    What’s with VF and the extreme close up cover?

  10. MissMoody says:

    Loved the book but it really isn’t a story that can be properly told via film imo. At least not just one film. I’ll watch it though and keep my fingers crossed that they don’t destroy the material completely

  11. TG says:

    I loved the Audrey Hepburn cover! I usually don’t even bother reading the celeb interviews or I save them for last. I love Vanity Fair but they need to interview more interesting subjects. Taylor Swift just doesn’t cut it.

  12. Rena says:

    Brad has pretty much shut VF out of his films PR especially since VF printed that issue with a soaking wet Brad in white briefs cover from a photo shoot Brad had done not for VF publication. So if this article is somewhat snarky that is no surprise with the old pic of Brad on the cover.

    I plan on seeing WWZ on June 21st as I read the book and really enjoyed it, and have seen some good reviews from people who have seen advance screenings of the film.

    • andrea says:

      Haha, yeah, I remember that. I think the photo was from Robert Wilson’s (?) series that VF appropriated for the cover.

      I’m not surprised VF is the first major glossy out of the gate to follow up on the gloomy predictions. I expect a few will follow, but with a more cautious approach if they still want to land a Pitt/Jolie/Jolie-Pitt cover some time in the near future.

      I’m going to go see it anyway as well. Fast zombies and dad Brad running around saving the world are appealing to me.

    • pwal says:

      It’s true that Pitt hasn’t submitted himself to be interviewed by VF since the Art Issue cover, plus VF did that missing sensitivity chip article with the ex, but I think he did appear in the HW issue… I think it was for Moneyball and it was with the director (?). Don’t think it was shot by Leibowitz or anything.

      At any rate, I will likely see WWZ despite the VF writeup and the other writeups that VF likely borrowed from in putting their ‘expose’ together. I like that Pitt takes chances, whereas VF stick with their blood in the water stories about big male stars possibly being in crisis-stories that seem to come out just in time for summer reading. And while WWZ may end up being formulaic, it won’t be to me, since I haven’t read the book or watch zombie-themed shows. Shaun of the Dead and Thriller are the only zombie-themed films I liked and if I add WWZ to it, fine. If not, oh well.

  13. Leek says:

    I loved the book, too, and was really looking forward to a documentary recollection of the outbreak. I’m so disappointed it seems they just made up something new and slapped the WWZ title on it. I’m still going to see the movie but I’m still keeping fingers crossed that someday the book is actually made into a film as well.

  14. Leah says:

    I’m so gonna watch it. Haven’t seen Brad in an action movie since Mr and Mrs Smith.
    Most movies do re-shoots and go over-budget, nothing new there. I’m hearing the same is happening with Mad Max.

  15. Mia 4S says:

    I’ll forever be bitter that I didn’t get my HBO miniseries adaptation of this kick ass book. Oh well I might see it, zombie movie and all.

  16. Jacqueline says:

    Those look like cheesy Instagram photos

  17. Eli says:

    Well, at least he cut that goat beard, and had his caps whitened! This photo of Pitt has been photoshopped to the hilt… Interesting how they made his eyes bluer. It is as if they were trying desperately to make him appear just a tad older than when he made Legends of the Fall.

    .

    I have been saying it for months and months… This movie will tank, big time!!!

  18. don't kill me i'm french says:

    cut your hair Brad!

  19. Madhubala says:

    Will definitely be seeing this. It does feel like a lot of people want this movie to fail, probably for a variety of reasons but none more so than to be able to say “take that Brad!” Just a feeling I’m getting.

    Even if it does turn out badly which I hope it won’t, I admire him for doing movies that he still has to fight for. It would be pretty easy to just take a paycheck and do whatever like a lot of stars do these days but The Assasination of Jesse James, Moneyball, Killing Me Softly and now World War Z all took battle for them to get made. I like that he’s not just resting on his laurels and taking the easy options.

  20. Amy246 says:

    I think the problems with this film are overhyped because it’s Brad Pitt. For some reason when it comes to him and Angelina things get blown up 100X than if it was somebody else. A lot of films go over budget and do reshoots but don’t receive half the criticism that WWZ is getting. Lone Ranger supposedly has as many problems as WWZ and actually cost millions more ($250 million?) but I’ve seen very few stories about it compared to WWZ. The trailers look good but the negative public could hurt the movie or it can backfire and help the film. People are claiming that the movie is so horrible (even without seeing it) viewers may want to see it just to find out.

  21. junegorilla says:

    How long has it been since he was in a decent movie?

  22. Amy246 says:

    I don’t know why people are saying Brad is losing star power and desperately needs a hit. I think only the mobster movie didn’t do well. I think it was low budget anyway. Tree of Life was also low budget and wasn’t supposed to be a blockbuster. Moneyball was also very profitable. Those are really the only movies he’s released the last couple of years. Way too early to claim is career is over because of one maybe two films. Other stars have done worse and are still big. People like Matt Damon, Robert Downey, Jr, and Johnny Depp haven’t had a lot of success outside of their franchises but are still A-list.

  23. lama says:

    Boy, there is a signature on this film that is distinctly everything that Pitt emanates: incoherent, illogical, a nightmare of overblown costs.

    Not to mention somebody sharing in a magazine article that bills were shoved into a drawer. Isn’t that a direct jab against the first director to make sure no one thinks that Pitt had anything to do with what is wrong?

    But it’s inevitable that he can’t make this world of trashy filming stop spinning. His footprint is all over

  24. Rabia says:

    I’ll watch anything with zombies.

  25. magpie says:

    Brad is A list for life now. Even if he’s not the hot up and comer he will continue to be a big name actor and producer.

    And Moneyball was only in 2011 and was a critical and commercial success (he was nominated for an Oscar as actor and producer). Even if WWZ bombs (which I don’t think it will), Brad will be fine.

  26. Dubois says:

    He looks like the male equivalent of Pam Anderson – rode hard and put away wet.

  27. LahdidahBaby says:

    Brad Pitt: so boring. World War Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  28. Bee says:

    Early screenings of this film have been very positive.

    Seems everyone wants this film to fail before they even see it!

    People should wait to actually watch a film before attacking it based on overblown stories. Can’t imagine all this fuss if it was any other actor.

  29. KellyinSeattle says:

    I wasn’t a Brad Pitt fan when he was younger, but he’s grown on me over the years.

  30. Heathers says:

    I don’t think I’ll see this because zombies don’t do it for me. The whole zombie apocalypse thing is tiresome and overwrought. For myself, anyway. Hearing all your comments, though, has made me want to read the book…

  31. Melissa says:

    He looks exactly like David Spade – check out the main picture on his website…dead ringer: http://www.davidspade.com/

  32. lisa2 says:

    I guess the people ragging on Brad don’t read. That picture on the cover is not recent. It is a stock picture from his promoting Moneyball. Vanity Fair does not have a current photoshoot with Brad. Which is why they are posting old pictures from previous shoots. Brad doesn’t do Vanity Fair, and this interview seems to be a cut and paste. There was already an Entertainment Weekly interview with Brad and Marc about the reshoots and budget. Which is 175 million. Not the one printed in the VF piece.

    I don’t get people wanting the movie to tank. Sounds like hate to me. Brad and family have been out of sight for some time. Not being seen. Brad has taken more risk and chances in films then the majority of actors in his age range. I love his choices. And his performances in films the last 8 years have been very impressive.

    The movie may not make Iron Man money or the money the other franchises have.. but that doesn’t equal a bomb. Some of the people wanting that to be the case.. well I hope you are proven very wrong.

    I like the cover.. and like him a great deal.

  33. Shay Kay says:

    I really, really want this movie to do justice to the book! I fear that it will be simplified into a BIG NAME ACTOR( in this case Pitt) loves his attractive wife and cute/smart mouthed children more than life itself which is why he reluctantly allows himself to be drawn into SAVING THE WORLD from zombies! In this case I admire Pitt’s project choice and really hope he didn’t, with the best of intentions, end up wasting wonderful source material!

  34. Springtime says:

    It seems to me once again the press is being paid off to trash a movie before it hit the theaters to affect the outcome. I agree with some why so much hoopla about the reshoots??? What big budget movie don’t do reshoots?? This is another form of payola to me because I have seen this happen to other movies prior to being release. If they can’t payoff the critics they pay the press to slam it so the profit will be loss from those who take the critics and the press word over a movie most of them haven’t even seen.

    I personal think someone got it out for either Paramount or Brad Pitt. Go see the movie and make your own decision.

    • Tulip Garden says:

      I understand your point, I think despite the fact it is a little garbled, but with just so many “entertainment dollars” to spend, I am always checking multiple sources for reviews before putting down my cash for a movie. Like most people, I think that I am smart enough to read reviews/watch trailers/consider my own taste and then make a decision.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Reshoots are one thing…having to create a new 40 minutes worth of the film is a completely different thing! That is a HUGE finanical undertaking. That much of a “reshoot” is indeed exceptional.

  35. ShakenNotStirred says:

    The film isn’t tracking well and there’s not enough buzz about it. Negative word started when it revealed the film is deviating far from the source material. I don’t know why he chose that director either. Quantum of Solace was disappointing. What really makes me want to miss this film is the CGI’d zombies. Nothing about the trailers compel me. I’ll just watch 28 Days Later again with Cillian Murphy.

  36. dj says:

    I really love that first picture of Brad (but it is really close up). I will be there opening day for this movie. I am reading the book now and I can understand how this would become a mess. The movie looks fun and it is zombies! Yeah.

  37. Mac says:

    I’m excited to see it, but maybe not in theaters. I’m a big fan of Walking Dead so here’s hoping this holds up.

  38. Aud says:

    I’ll wait for the DVD release.
    I’m beginning to think that this film will be the zombie equivalent to Waterworld: costs ballooning out of proportion to the script and, dare I say it, acting quality.
    Also, great photoshopped picture of Brad as well. No wrinkles, no tobacco stained teeth…wow.

  39. Mrs Odie 2 says:

    I recently read the book. Just because a book is good, doesn’t mean it should be a movie. Often, one medium doesn’t transfer to the other (that’s why you’ve never seen a film version of ‘Catcher in the Rye’, it’s an interior monologue, and nothing much happens). The book had horrific imagery. Things I never want to see on a screen. Also, the style of the book doesn’t lend itself to a film adaptation. There isn’t a straightforward narrative. I like Brad. I loved “Meet Joe Black,” “The Mexican,” “Ocean’s 11″. He always delivers a solid performance. I worked with him on TV before he was THE Brad Pitt. This is 24 years ago now (wow!). He was a nice guy. A real pro, even then. A sucker for the ladies, though. Or I should say “the lady.” He was a serial monogamist from the get-go. It was Jill something that year.