Despite the worst kind of pre-release buzz that a tentpole has seen in a long way, “World War Z” did not burst into flames upon its release earlier this year. In fact, it remains one of 2013’s biggest hits to date.
The film’s success wasn’t a surprise to anyone who actually saw the film, which got the benefit of a new ending from Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard.
Now for the Blu-ray release of the film, MTV News spoke with director Marc Forster about the film’s success and what it was like to sit through all that bad press.
How has it been looking back on “World War Z” all these months later?
I’m excited, and I’m also excited because we’re releasing the unrated version as well. For a filmmaker, seeing the PG-13 version of a film is always a little more restrictive. Some excited people can experience the unrated one.
What else are you excited for on the Blu-ray?
There’s a documentary in it that gives you an hour-long look at how the movie was conceived and how it all came about. I think it’s a really good piece. I really like that one as well.
This movie, in particular, had an interesting, very public story arc behind the scenes. How do you look back on the whole process?
I’m obviously very relieved that it became a hit, a movie of this size. Obviously, I was surprised that people were writing a lot about it before, when nobody had seen it. It seemed like nobody had seen the movie and people were still forming opinions. I’m always amazed. How do people know? They haven’t seen it. It’s different from what you experience with film. I’m truly excited that globally people embraced the film, and they enjoyed themselves like it was something new. It did something new with the genre. The Israel sequence alone was one of the sequences I was very excited about creating and how I envisioned it. It came out the way I wanted it to. I was just glad that people got into it and really enjoyed it.
Are you wary at all of the echo chamber that the internet can become with something like a production? At the same time, it’s also how the word spread once “World War Z” was a hit.
It’s kind of frightening. I always believed in the movie, and I’m sitting there on set thinking, “This movie really works. Am I crazy?” Then we’re having a preview, and it worked in the preview. People were still saying things. I’m reading these things. Where does it come from? People haven’t seen it. In the same time, because the public opinion is so strong, you’re feeling a little on edge. Once the movie was out and in theaters, I realized people are really embracing it. It was nerve-racking.
What did it mean to you to have an ally like Brad Pitt, who was a star and a producer?
It was great to have him as an ally. We were working on it together for a long time. Ultimately, even the rumors that we weren’t talking, there wasn’t any truth. I’m just thinking to myself, it didn’t affect him as much because he has been living his entire life, of the press writing stuff that really doesn’t represent what’s actually going on. For someone like me, who hasn’t been exposed to that process, it was trickier. At the end of the day, I’m so pleased with the movie because it presented exactly the vision that I always had for it. I’m glad people liked it. When a movie of this size doesn’t work, it can really affect your career tremendously.
Brad has already started talking about sequels? Does what happened on “World War Z,” especially with the ending, make you reconsider the scale?
It always comes back to character. I feel like on this particular one, the ending, I felt it was crucial to have it intimate and small because it makes it more humane. I think that’s the key. If you’re going on a second journey, you want to keep that humanity in tact because it’s a continuation about how humanity will try to survive and how this will further develop. I think that’s the key.