Monday, April 22, 2024

“World War Z” Readies London Premiere with Brad and Angelina


So here we are, surprise! Paramount Pictures has flown me to London so I can witness the international premiere of Marc Forster’s “World War Z” on Sunday night in Leicester Square. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will be here along with “Extra” and “Access Hollywood” and “ET,” etc.

The movie doesn’t open for two more weeks, but Paramount is a little nervous. Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly and others have run stories about the movie’s rollercoaster ride to release. But last week Paramount did show the film in New York and Los Angeles to tastemakers and media people who weren’t in Cannes. They got a positive response.

I checked with a few of those guests before agreeing to come here. They assured me “WWZ” is no “After Earth,” that it’s very entertaining, and should do fine. After the screening tomorrow night there’s also a big concert by the group Muse. Their music is all over the film.

Here’s a little strange coincidence: the novel “World War Z” is written by Max Brooks, son of Mel Brooks and the late great Anne Bancroft. I don’t think it’s a funny book– although I could see Mel doing a parody of zombie movies a la “Young Frankenstein.” Good for Max. On Thursday next week, the American Film Institute’s annual gala guest of honor is…Mel Brooks. I will be there. It’s quite a week for the Brooks family, that’s for sure. Anne Bancroft was the most brilliant actress and loveliest of human beings. She must be grinning from ear to ear in heaven. We miss you, Anne!

PS in notes-– In the last day or so it was reported that famed jazz pianist Mulgrew Miller died of a stroke on Thursday at age 57. I am in shock. Miller flew in from a gig in Chicago two months ago and played at Aretha Franklin’s 71st birthday party in New York. He was a gentle giant, a great man, and an extraordinary musician. When we saw him at the end of March he looked fine. Life is short and there are no guarantees. Condolences to his family and friends…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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