Pitt gave a brief intro to the 3D trailer and some exclusive footage, saying, "Four years ago, I knew nothing about zombies, wasn't really interested. Now I'm an expert." He added, "I wanted to make this film because I wanted to make a film my sons would enjoy before they get old. You will see we got a little carried away. I hope you enjoy it as much as my boys are. They're going to love it."
Forster (whose previous films include "Quantum of Solace" and "Monster's Ball") stayed after the footage for a Q&A where he addressed the re-shoots, how the movie is trying to offer a "new perspective" on zombies, and the first reaction from a test screening.
Here's what we learned:
It's not "just" a zombie movie "For me, this is not just a zombie film," said Forster. "It's a film about a global crisis. Yes, it's a zombie film, but it speaks about some global issues." Pitt added, "We found much more than a zombie film. We found this global apocalypse, this 'zombie epidemic as worldwide pandemic' and that really interested us."
The movie's stunning visual twist of zombie swarms is also a metaphor "The idea we had for the zombies came from nature, sort of this flocking and swarming," Forster explained. "In the George Romero films in the '70s, zombies were such a great metaphor for consumerism. For me, the metaphor was more about overpopulation today and that there are less and less resources. Their swarming is like their going after the last resources especially when the feeding frenzy starts."
Don't expect a lot of gore Although Forster said he's a fan of TV's "The Walking Dead," "World War Z" will be rated PG-13: "Most of the gore and blood, I avoid it on purpose."
Do expect a "Contagion" approach to the zombies Pitt's character is a former U.N. employee who's spent time problem-solving in hot spots like Africa and Bosnia. "He was able to come out alive out of these places, so at this point in the story, it's up to him to go on a quest to find 'Patient Zero'," Forster explained. Pitt's search takes him to Jerusalem, where the striking "zombie swarm" from the trailer occurs as they try to make it inside the "Salvation Gates" erected to keep them out.
"World War Z" won't be campy. Forster's goal was to make the action feel "very real, that it could happen right now. It's a pretty intense ride. You're on the edge of your seat pretty much from beginning to end."
These zombies turn in an instant "It's 12 seconds," Forster said of the ultra-fast conversion process. "There are some people who turn faster than others, which [Pitt] discovers that when he sees the first person change in Philadelphia," although as the virus mutates, some people transform faster than others.
The catchphrase from this just might be... Forster quotes a line about the "World War Z" approach to taking out the undead: "'Spines are divine but knees are just fine,' So just basically if you hit them in the knees, they start crawling."
Everyone says they're happy about the re-shoots "We shot the movie and put it together and we all felt the ending wasn't what we wanted it to be and could be better," Forster said. "We showed it to the studio and made a proposal and we went back and did some additional shooting and we are really happy now with the result. I prefer it and I think it's more powerful and works in favor of the story."
Pitt and Forster are still on speaking terms Not only did the two amicably share a stage, but Forster sang Pitt's praises to the press, "For me, it was a really fantastic collaboration, because we share a lot of similar sensitivities. Developing this was a lot of fun and it worked out really, really positively, so I enjoyed the process tremendously."
Author Max Brooks gave them his "blessings" "I met Max a couple of times," Forster said. "We spoke about the book and his intentions and I think, ultimately, he gave us his blessings. He hasn't seen the finished film yet but I am looking forward to showing it to him."
"World War Z" is trying to reinvent the zombie genre. "You're dealing with a genre that has been done many times, but you're trying to find a way in that still is new and fresh and different and have a new perspective to it," Forster said, pointing out a scene from the trailer: "You haven't seen that in a zombie movie before: An outbreak on an airplane."
Don't rule out a "World War Z" trilogy, as Pitt has previously mentioned. "There could be more story to tell, yes," says Forster.