Brad Pitt Talks British Extras, Possible Sequels & Bringing Philly to Glasgow at ‘World War Z’ World Premiere

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

Brad Pitt wants to you to know one thing about "World War Z" – it's the ultimate summer thrill ride.

Forget all those stories about production problems, swollen budgets, and massive reshoots. Now that the movie is completed and ready to open, Brad Pitt was busy turning on his movie star charm (with Angelina Jolie at his side, in her first public appearance since her double mastectomy) as he arrived for the world premiere of "World War Z" in London today. As he greeted the media and throngs of fans, Pitt (who also produced) was full of confidence and excitement about the movie.

"It's been a long time coming," Pitt said, sporting a stylish black suit with an open collared shirt, aviator shades, and blonde hair almost to his shoulders. "We got this thing together – it's biiiiiig, it's good summer fun, so we're really happy to unleash it here."

When asked what prompted him to make a film out of Max Brooks' novel of a global zombie takeover, Pitt's immediate response was a good humored, "You got me, man! I don't know, but it works!" After a beat, he took a more serious tone as he talked about the material.

"It was kind of a genre-bender in the sense it approached it like a world pandemic and how would you survive if we woke up this morning and everything we concerned our day with was rendered useless," Pitt said. "And how we protect our families, and what happens then? And what countries are actually in better condition to survive it and what aren't. We started from there – it's a really interesting book."

Pitt also talked about the grand scale of the movie – "We had one thousand extras in one shot!" he said, half incredulous and half bragging – and revealed that Glasgow in Scotland stood in for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the movie. "That's right, Glasgow is Philly," Pitt said. "It looks great! It looks the business."

Much of "World War Z" was shot in the United Kingdom, and while speaking to the press in London, Pitt had nothing but praise for the experience. "[The UK has] got a real great international vibe, there's a lot of different cultures here," Pitt said. "We had an international cast that we had to reach out to. And tax rebates, man!"

[Related: Angelina Jolie Makes First Red Carpet Appearance Since Double Mastectomy Announcement]

"And by the way, the extras are great," Pitt continued. "That's another thing about filming here, the infrastructure's so good, the crews are so good, and the people are filling in the backdrop. We have a LOT of extras in this one, a lot of people screaming in the streets, and they really sold it."

And if "World War Z" takes off at the box office, Pitt is ready to give viewers a sequel if they want one. "We got plenty of material to do a second or third if this thing works," Pitt said with confidence.

And before he broke away to sign more autographs and stroll into the theater with Jolie on his arm, Pitt took one last opportunity to hammer home his message. "The most intense film you're going to see all summer! I'm telling you!" Pitt said with a grin, almost shouting. "Don't miss it, it's great summer fun!"

Pitt, his fellow cast members on hand, and director Mark Forster were uniformly upbeat in their comments during the premiere, and Forster only alluded to the movie's well publicized production woes in the most vague terms. "It’s an epic, and it’s always a challenge making an epic," Forster said. "But that's what made it so interesting and incredible. And I was really, really passionate about the material and wanted to go on a journey like this."

The closest thing to a direct comment about the film's rocky road to the screen came in the form of a witty quip from co-producer Dede Gardner. When asked about the greatest challenge in bringing "World War Z" to the screen, she laughed and replied, "How long do you have?"

"World War Z" opens domestically June 21.

See Brad Pitt in the "World War Z" trailer 2 ...