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Dear Brad Pitt,
Congratulations on the success of 12 Years a Slave! Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the film yet, but the news from Toronto is that Steve McQueen’s latest project will be a sure frontrunner during this year’s award season. While a large part of that success is due to McQueen’s directorial style, Sean Bobbitt’s keen eye, and the shattering script by John Ridley, the performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson and Lupita Nyong’o are positively career defining.
Your own contributions to the film are equally significant: in addition to playing the role of Samuel Bass, a Canadian carpenter who offers hope to Ejiofor’s Solomon Northup, your company, Plan B, produced 12 Years a Slave. In fact, Plan B was responsible for raising the film’s $22 million dollar budget, which was no small feat. Right now, you should be feeling pretty good about yourself.
We do not need another tired and overstuffed blockbuster.
However, we found one piece of news from Toronto Film Festival to be quite alarming. We hear that you’re actually considering doing a sequel to the bloated, nonsensical and chaotic World War Z. In the words of John McEnroe, ”You cannot be serious!” Though the film beat the odds (development hell, rewrites, studio battles, reshoots) to become a box office success, grossing $536 million worldwide, the whole mess took away precious time that you (and your company) could have used for more creatively fulfilling undertakings in the vein of The Tree of Life, Moneyball, and Killing Them Softly.
While we understand that World War Z would be the first franchise that you’ve led, we implore you not to let ego (or your desire to kill zombies on-screen) get in the way of art. You’ve been nominated for four Academy awards—you’re a great actor—and a sequel to World War Z is completely unnecessary at this stage in your career. Sure, another box office score might fatten up your wallet, but you’ve got far more interesting projects to promote—like Ridley Scott’s The Counselor or Terrence Malick’s Voyage of Time. Plus, you’re going to be producing a TV version of Larry Kramer’s "The Normal Heart" for HBO.
As you turn 50 later this year, we beg you to mull over the decision on whether to return to the World War Z universe. Your talents and the resources of your company should be focused on cultivating new talent and bringing exciting and meaningful stories to the screen. We do not need another tired and overstuffed blockbuster.
We’re counting on you.