Video Blog Reaction to 'World War Z' Footage + Talk with Marc Forster
by Ben Pearson
March 29, 2013
Last Friday, Paramount Pictures invited me and a handful of other film journalists to their studio lot in Hollywood to see 20 minutes of footage from the upcoming zombie blockbuster World War Z. Producer and star Brad Pitt was on hand to introduce the footage, and afterwards we spoke with director Marc Forster for an additional 20 minutes to get some insight into what to expect when the movie finally hits theaters this summer on June 21st, 2013. Myself and Germain Lussier from SlashFilm recorded a video blog to capture our reactions (watch it below) and there's some interesting remarks from Forster and Pitt.
First up, star and producer Brad Pitt came front and center to introduce the intense new trailer for World War Z (which we saw in person in 3D) and then an extra 20 minutes of footage. Pitt said in the intro:
"Four years ago, I knew nothing about zombies. I wasn't interested. Now I'm an expert…I wanted to make this film because I wanted to make a film my sons could actually see before they get old, and as you will see, we got a little carried away."
Pitt's sons are still fairly young, but the young male audience should dig what World War Z has to offer. There was a ton of action in the footage (mostly extended sequences from the trailers), and the scope looks absolutely massive. Here's a video blog recorded with Germain Lussier of SlashFilm featuring our reaction:
As you can see, I think I was a bit more impressed with what we saw, though it's definitely tough to make a full judgment call based on a few minutes out of context. In one of the scenes we saw, Pitt's character guides his family through crowded Philadelphia streets when he witnesses someone get bitten. He keeps watching them and counts off twelve seconds in his head before they turn into a zombie, but Forster revealed that some people turn faster than others. Even though it's ostensibly a zombie movie, the filmmakers are trying to make this "as real as possible" to avoid campiness and make it feel as if this could actually happen. So the fact that everyone's biology is slightly different and some react differently to viruses is a factor.
As we've seen in all the trailers, the zombies move quickly, but Forster promised there would be both fast and slow moving members of the undead in World War Z. In the footage we saw, the infected weren't imbued with any superhuman speed or strength, but it looked like their preferred method of taking down targets was tackling people at full speed. The zombies moved almost as a horde instead of individualized people, and Forster said that was very much intended from the start:
"The idea I always had for the zombies came out of nature, this flocking and swarming. The old George Romero films in the '70s, where zombies were such a great metaphor for consumerism, for me, the metaphor is more about overpopulation today and less and less resources, and the swarming of them is almost like going after the last resources, especially when the feeding frenzy starts."
Forster is acutely aware of AMC's "The Walking Dead" and the popularity of zombies in pop culture right now, so one of the biggest challenges of this movie was figuring out how to tell the story in an original way. He mentioned he'd watched nearly every zombie movie out there in preparation for making this film, but for him, "this is not just a zombie film. It's more than that. It's a global film and a film about a global crisis." He also told us how he wanted to make this story in this World War Z movie feel unique:
"You're dealing with a genre that's been done many times, but you're trying to find a way in that still is new and fresh and different, that you don't repeat what other people have done and have a new perspective to it. What is really great about this film is that it's a global epidemic. You can make a global film which effects so many countries, and have this worldwide epidemic, and zombies are great metaphors for the times we're living in today."
Wrapping things up, Forster couldn't help but tease a possible World War Z trilogy when someone asked about it. He smiled coyly and laughed, saying only that "There could be more story to tell." But the first one has to succeed before any future installments can be made, so we'll be keeping our eyes out for World War Z as it makes its way into theaters on June 21st this summer movie season. Catch the latest zombie-filled trailer here and stay tuned for any other updates or big reveals before June. Are you excited for this?