WITH UPDATES: What a relief: after all the crazy stories, Marc Forster’s World War Z is going to be a hit summer blockbuster. The movie premiered tonight in London at a big black carpet event in Leicester Square. Paramount brought me here and I was worried that this would be a difficult task.
Not at all. Brad Pitt easily pulls off the role of hero as the world is overcome by a virus that turns millions into zombies. Forster and Pitt play it straight, no laughs or inside jokes.
They build characters and tension so that the audience is really involved in the story. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t The King’s Speech. WWZ is a popcorn movie on the level of Independence Day. But like that summer hit, Forster’s film never flags and is always entertaining.
MORE Paramount Pictures is launching “World War Z” around the world before a New York premiere on June 17th. On Sunday night they kicked off the festivities by producing a rock concert with the group Muse right after the big screening. Muse’s music is heard all through the movie.
The concert, with pyrotechnics, lasted about 45 minutes and was staged in the Royal Horseguard Parade, a place they say has never had am event put on by outsiders. It’s just where the royal family sometimes hosts events. About 15,000 people crowded into this unique setting. Muse rocked the crowd which was orderly but enthusiastic.
Among the guests: actress Jessica Chastain showed up unexpectedly with her extremely pleasant and hardworking Moncler executive boyfriend Gian Luca Passi de Preposulo.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were also right there, along with director Forster the whole cast, various British actors and celebrities, too. There’s no question everyone was relieved the movie had gone over so well. Stories about strife on the set, massive reshoots of the last third film of the film, all of it falls away if the movie turns out alright. And “World War Z” has hit written all over it. So everyone was chummy.
Angelina worked the black carpet at the screening,signing dozens upon dozens of autographs, chatting with fans who’d waited to meet her– and it’s not her movie. She looked amazing as usual in a ful length black Yves St Laurent gown. A fan handed her a stuffed bear holding a heart at one end of the line. Way down at the other, Angelina gave it to a little girl who’d been waiting with her mother. She also took fans’ cameras and orchestrated photos.
“You’re just like a director,” a fan said.
“I am a director,” Jolie replied cheerily.
At the Muse concert, where everyone stood on a low platform facing the stage, I congratulated Brad on starting a possible franchise with “World War Z.” The door is definitely left open for parts 2 and 3. “We’re not really franchise people,” he said, holding Angelina’s hand. Well, they are now.
And who liked the movie most? Jolie and Pitt brought two of their three sons, Pax and Maddox. The kids brought friends and all they watched the movie together. And here’s a little scoop if you’ve read this far: Maddox got to play a child zombie. Even if you can’t spot him he’s there. “We have him in the dark,” Brad said. “Child zombies,” he said, rolling his eyes. That might not play so well.
More on “World War Z” in my next report…