Damon Lindelof Had To Secretly Fix World War Z

By Rudie Obias | Updated

world war z

For what seems like forever, Damon Lindelof has been one of the most sought-after writers and creatives in all of Hollywood. It’s been that way for quite some time. So it isn’t all that big a surprise when the Star Trek Into Darkness writer and Lost creator would be called in to “save” a movie. And that’s what happened with Brad Pitt’s World War Z which was facing major issues under Marc Foster’s direction.

At the time, Damon Lindelof was profiled in an issue of The Hollywood Reporter, where the writer talked about World War Z and J.J. Abrams‘ (then) forthcoming Star Wars: Episode VII.

During World War Z‘s production issues, the film’s producer and star Brad Pitt called Damon Lindelof to do a pass on the script’s final act. Pitt was a big fan of Lindelof’s work on Prometheus and thought the screenwriter could work wonders with World War Z.

Damon Lindelof said about looking at World War Z, “‘The idea of a large-scale, epic, $150 million zombie movie starring Brad Pitt sounds pretty good to me,’ he says. ‘Because I haven’t seen that before. I haven’t seen the go-for-broke, insane zombie movie. One of the things that Brad said was, there are so many tropes we’ve come to expect in zombie films, and he wanted to do something different. And the only way to do it different was to do it big.”

The problems on World War Z were greater than expected, so Lindelof called in screenwriter Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) to help him with the movie’s ending.

Paramount Pictures ultimately had to spend an additional $20 million to go back into production to re-shoot a new ending.

world war z

Damon Lindelof revealed about this process, “One of the things that I said when I first agreed to do it was, ‘Guys, we have to do this completely and totally under the table,'” Lindelof says. “I just got through the Prometheus experience, and ‘Lindelof comes in to fix the World War Z ending’ will bring, literally — it’ll be the worst press you can ever imagine. I guarantee that I will take all the blame if the movie doesn’t do well. That’s what I’m here for.”

While Damon Lindelof had been a punching bag for “geek rage” (he was mainly blamed for the problems of Prometheus and Lost), he is taking all the criticism in stride and is fully aware of the entire Internet backlash against him.

Did it end up working where World War Z was concerned? Not really. The movie did end up earning more than $540 million at the box office on its $270 million dollar budget. The latter number is up for debate and the Damon Lindelof reshoots clearly added to the number.

The critical response was above average with many praising the action, but the ending was still called into question. The original ending was considered pretty abrupt and too ambiguous. But the revised ending seemed implausible, even for a zombie movie.

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