Director: Marc Forster
Stars: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz
Plot: Former United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself.
Is the highest-grossing film of Brad Pitt's career.
The Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate does indeed have a devil's advocate office to explore alternative assumptions and worst-case scenarios so intelligence assessments doesn't fall victim to "group think", but it is not called the 10th Man Doctrine.
Matthew Fox has a cameo as para jumper from the helicopter from the rescue scene earlier in the film. Initially he had a bigger role in the film. A storyline was deleted that featured Gerry's wife having an affair with him. He would be set up as a (human) villain for World War Z 2 (2017). Due to the constant re-writes and editing, his role in the final cut was reduced down to only 5 lines of dialogue.
Originally, the film had a different ending: the plane lands in Moscow rather than crashing in Wales. The passengers are rounded up, and the elderly and sick are executed. Gerry is drafted into the Russian army. An unknown period of time passes, and we see Gerry fighting the zombies. He realizes the zombies are weak in the cold. The film ended with him getting back to the USA and leading a D-Day like invasion against the undead on the Oregon coast. The ending that was used instead made the movie less brutal and ended it with a glimpse of hope.Paramount executive Marc Evans and Adam Goodman, the president of production did not like the original cut (which has the Russian ending) as both men felt that it was incoherent and abrupt. They brought in Damon Lindelof to view the cut and he suggested to them either to add new scenes to improve the coherence or do a complete third-act rewrite and risk additional resource plus re-shoots. Lindelof recalled: "So when I gave them those two roads and they sounded more interested in Road B I was like, 'To be honest with you, good luck selling that to Paramount."
During the reshoots, Marc Forster and Brad Pitt reportedly weren't on speaking terms. Forster's notes for Pitt had to be relayed through an intermediary.
An early script was leaked onto the internet in March 2008, leading to a review by Ain't It Cool News which called it "[not] just a good adaptation of a difficult book [but] a genre-defining piece of work that could well see us all arguing about whether or not a zombie movie qualifies as 'Best Picture' material". The review also noted the film appears stylistically similar to Children of Men (2006), following Gerry Lane as he travels the post-war world and interviews survivors of the zombie war who are "starting to wonder if survival is a victory of any kind."
If it seems odd that the Air Belarus pilots know English, you'll be pleased to know that English is the internationally accepted language for pilots. With the exception of smaller air strips where the potential for confusion is minimal.
The rewrite was almost at 60 pages long and cost an additional $20 million more.
J. Michael Straczynski's early draft of the script stayed closer to the source material. That version followed Gerry Lane, a UN worker tasked with investigating the failures that led to the outbreak so that they can be avoided in the future. The bulk of the narrative consisted of interviews with prominent figures and flashbacks to their role in the initial outbreak, largely taken from the book. This was framed by Gerry's journey around the globe to meet these individuals, showing the current condition of the human race, and flashbacks to the Lane family's struggle to survive in the wilderness in the early days of the war.
The shot where the zombie pins Brad Pitt down and shakes his head and splattering blood all over Pitt's face is the same as Pitt does in Fight Club (1999), to Lou.
The climactic battle scene in Russia, for which there was 12 minutes of footage, had Gerry Lane fighting through zombies more like "a warrior hero" than "the sympathetic family man" of the earlier acts. The second-unit director, Simon Crane, said, "It wasn't character-driven anymore... [The filmmakers] really needed to think about what they wanted to do with the third act."