24 – Controversial films assignment (The Controversial production of ‘World War Z’)

world war z







One of the major controversies of the film ‘World War Z’, was during filming in Hungary. A total of 85 weapons included machine guns, rifles and pistols, (The Telegraph, 11/10/11) traveled with the World War Z production company ‘Adam Goodman’ from London to Budapest. More specifically; Ferenc Lizst Airport. The weapons were then moved to a warehouse in a duty free-zone, near the Airport. Shortly afterwards, an Anti-Terrorism squad sent by the Hungarian Goverment, raided the warehouse. This was because the 85 guns that were to be used for the filming, were fully functional. “The weapons seized could still be fired even though screws had been used to fill the end of the barrels”. (The Telegraph, 11/10/11)

While it is probably very important to find out about the rules and restrictions for the Country that you will be visiting. It is just common sense and mandatory to remove all live ammunition from the weapons that you will be using. Many films use companies that craft their own weapons, and so therefore will not contain live ammunition. But if you are going to use real guns then it is stupid and extremely dangerous to leave the ammunition inside. What reason would they have to leave the ammunition in the weapons? So in that case they can only blame themselves for getting themselves into the situation with the Hungarian government.

They found 85 automatic rifles, all of which came with misleading paperwork suggesting they were non-functional. (The Guardian, Child-Ben, 11/10/11)

So this implies that it wasn’t a case of serious stupidity in forgetting to remove all the ammunition from the guns, but implying that the ammunition was deliberately left in the guns. This takes the matter far out of the reach of it being a ‘film’ but being a ‘dangerous terrorist act’.

Hajdu Janos and Zsolt Bodnar, the director and deputy director of Hungary’s Anti-Terrorism Unit stated, “This morning a private plane brought guns wrapped in a parcel from a company to an individual. Guns like these are highly illegal to transport even if they were used as stage guns, which hopefully they weren’t.” (The Hollywood Reporter, THR staff, 10/10/11)

“It’s possible that all the weapons were brought in for the film, but this would not be allowed by Hungarian law,” as the weapons had not been fully deactivated and could easily be used to fire live ammunition, Mr Hajdu said. “This is a very complicated case.” (The Telegraph, 11/10/11)

The authorities say they are interrogating witnesses now. (The Hollywood Reporter, THR staff, 10/10/11)

This clearly shows that the case had become extremely serious not just legally but, psychically, since interrogation had been used. And not perhaps not just for their own sake, but for the sake of others as well.

Another reason why ‘World War Z’ had been deemed as having a controversial production was that after the film had finished shooting, it was given an extra 7 weeks of re-shooting. This was because the original ending was apparently not very good. And from reading what the original ending to the film was, it was the right decision to re-write and re-film the ending.

We’ve known for a while that screenwriters Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard were brought in to make some changes, and according to Huffington Post, Lindelof and Goddard wrote the new ending, but they also added some much-needed human moments in a movie that still has too few of them. (Joblow.com, Woods – Kevin, 25/06/13)

The new version of the film, takes up a large amount of time – 40-minute-long third act. (The Guardian,  Child-Ben, 3/5/13) It takes place in several different locations hence the many weeks of re-shoots and not just one or two. The new ending introduced new character’s to the film, thus new actor’s/actresses including Peter Capaldi. This being one reason why about 20 million was invested into the film for it’s new ending. But the new ending’s scenes were not the only scenes that were added to the film. Four other scenes were added to the movie as well.

Another notable problem on the set of World War Z was that Brad Pitt had fallen out with Director Marc Forster. Brad Pitt, who Vulture hears exclusively from multiple production sources has become so frustrated with the film’s director, Marc Forster, that he stopped speaking to him altogether as the production heads into at least three weeks of reshoots. (Vulture, Brodesser Akner-Claude, 13/07/12)

Things got so bad that when Forster had notes on a scene for Pitt, they had to be relayed through an intermediary — and vice versa. (Vulture, Brodesser Akner-Claude, 13/07/12)

But due to some fairly good reviews (thanks to the new ending) the film managed to earn $202 million, with a budget of $190 million. So the film earned profit and did not falter from it’s new ending.

When a film has someone like Brad Pitt, working on the set, all of the news of the movie is always going to feed back to everyone else online. So everyone will know about it and will hear about the problems of the movie.

But as well as hearing about it first hand, people had heard directly from Brad Pitt himself after the movie had finished, as he had publicly expressed his feelings about the movie and it’s production. Pitt said after hiring Lindelof “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,” (Vanity Fair, Holson-Laura, ?/06/13)

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