So much has been said about Marc Forster’s brilliant zombie flick, World War Z, but not a lot has come from the director himself. All throughout the films troublesome production, there were constant updates on things going wrong with the film, and the final big event was that the ending was completely changed, and seven weeks of re-shoots saw a new ending filmed which was different to what Forster had originally planned.
The end result of World War Z was spectacular, and while Forster’s original ending of yet another big scale action sequence in Russia would have been good, many have agreed that the actual ending to the film was much more like a traditional horror film. The chaos of another massive action scene in Russia, involving thousands of zombies fighting the army, and at night, could have worked, but then again after such a big, chaotic film, it just might have been too much of a good thing.
The new ending, which was more quiet, tense and so much more like a proper zombie horror, was a brave approach which actually worked for many fans. While it did not work for everyone (I must admit, I would have loved to have seen the epic Russian battle), the ending was strong and very frightening in places.
Forster has now finally come out and had his say on the events surrounding the films ending, and it seems it was not the studious pushing for a change of pace, but everyone (including Forster) agreed to it. Speaking with Movies.com, he said:
“Basically in the original ending, after the Israel sequence and the plane crash, Gerry is in Russia, and the storyline of what he finds out at the WHO lab is what he finds in Russia but he applies his theory in a battlefield setting. We called it ‘The Battle of Moscow,’ and it’s a huge battle with zombies and multiple other characters and ultimately Gerry defeats them by realizing that the zombies avoid him and go around him [after injecting himself with a virus],” Forster explained.
“So it’s in Russia, at night, in a snowstorm with thousands of zombies and big battles; kind of the scope of the Israel sequence. Some of that footage is still in the film, you see it during the montage when Gerry journeys back to his family on that small boat, we see a few glimpses from that battle. We never finished that footage because we all agreed after Israel and the plane crash you’re battle fatigued and you really want the movie to be more quiet and you don’t want it to go into another huge combat situation.”
During the films final scenes, there is an extremely tense scene involving Brad Pitt’s Jerry and a zombie who is given a real sense of history, and loss of humanity, by way of a wedding ring on his finger. Forster explained the casting and character:
“It was very important for me to first cast the actor who would play that zombie [that Gerry confronts in the lab]. His name is Michael Jenn. He’s a performer and had all these different skills, but the key thing with me was to make you feel with this zombie this mirror that this used to be a human. We hadn’t had that moment in the film, this loss of humanity. I put a wedding ring on his finger and he’s banging it very subtly against the glass door. So to give this man a history that he was married, he had a life at one point.”
Head over to Movies’com to read the rest of the interview.
World War Z is released in the UK on DVD & Blu-ray on October 21st. You can read my cinema review here.