Brad Pitt is not the world’s greatest actor, but he does have talent and movie-star charisma. More important, though, he has good taste which proves he’s not a hack. Movies like Moneyball, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Tree of Life and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button prove he’s interested in quality material that isn’t necessarily commercial. He isn’t Sly Stallone or Steven Seagal.
So what is he doing producing and starring in World War Z when he could be doing something a lot more interesting than shooting zombies in the face? That’s easy. He’s in Paycheck Mode. He thinks he needs to carry a bona-fide blockbuster series in order to keep him in the style to which he’s become accustomed. Here are five ways you can tell he’s doing it strictly for the bucks.
1) The New Movie Is High-Concept, Meaning Low-Effort on the Part of the Audience.
You can’t explain the appeal of Moneyball or Jesse James in a sentence, but World War Z is simply a movie about your average ordinary expert UN diplomat/action hero/scientist/dad who singlehandedly saves the world from an unexplained zombie outbreak. Problem: the audience figures out early going in that this is pretty much going to be the whole story, so the only reason to stick around is to ogle the special effects and worship his Bradness. The movie is set up to launch a franchise that would replace the Ocean’s series with an easy way for Brad to replenish the bank account every couple of years, but with cost overruns driving the budget up to some $200 million — some say the true figure is closer to $300 million — the zombie thriller seems unlikely to spark a sequel.