"Babylon A.D." Director Trashes Own Movie

Unfortunate as it may sound, none of us are strangers to the idea that movie studios tend to interfere with a filmmaker's vision. With market testing and trend-hopping being such a driving force behind pop corn movies, sometimes when a filmmaker gets too ambitious in trying to elevate the norm, he or she will get a rude awakening of how the process works, and they better play along if they want another gig. Mathieu Kassovitz, the director of the upcoming Sci-Fi actioner Babylon A.D., is unafraid of burning bridges and is bashing his own movie on the week of its release, after refusing to promote the film.

Back in April, I posted about a dispute regarding the film's editing. Fox more or less barged into the editing room and took final cut away from the director. They only cut roughly 15 minutes out of an intended 2 hour film, but Kassovitz is still unhappy with the resulting 93 minutes.

If you think, "No big deal. They'll probably release a Director's Cut DVD a few years down the line," you might be right, but it still won't be the film Kassovitz wanted to make. In a revealing interview with AMC, he complained that problems with Fox already reared its ugly head during production, claiming that the director "never had a chance to do one scene the way it was written or the way I wanted it to be. The script wasn't respected. Bad producers, bad partners, it was a terrible experience."

Does he sound pissed off to you, too?

"I like the energy of it and I got some scenes I'm happy with," he says. "But I know what I had -- I had something much better in my hands but I just wasn't allowed to work."

Babylon A.D. was supposed to be an intelligent Sci-Fi film, examining a possible future where wars are driven by money and leading to issues around border control. The geopolitical aspect of the original book, Kassovitz said, was what drew him to the material. It was a passion project he'd been nursing for years.  But you won't see that come Friday. Instead, all trailers point out to the finished film being xXx: In Da Future, and Kassovitz agrees.

"It's pure violence and stupidity," he admits. "The movie is supposed to teach us that the education of our children will mean the future of our planet. All the action scenes had a goal: They were supposed to be driven by either a metaphysical point of view or experience for the characters... instead parts of the movie are like a bad episode of 24."

The irony of it is that studios demand these cuts and restrictions to make a movie more marketable, but Kassovitz smartly noted how in what has been a satisfying summer filled with action films that strive to cater to more than just a dumb audience like Iron Man and The Dark Knight, moviegoers might not be impressed with his movie and it would result in a box office failure.

"I should have chosen a studio that has guts," he says. "Fox was just trying to get a PG-13 movie. I'm ready to go to war against them, but I can't because they don't give a s--t."

Read the full interview here.

This is quite upsetting because I was pretty excited for this movie when I first caught wind of it. Then I watched as news surrounding it went from bad to worse, suspected something's amiss because Fox isn't screening it for press, and now the director himself is telling me that it's a bad movie. It's just a letdown all around, and I can understand why people are worried about the possibility of Fox snatching Watchmen away from Warner Bros.

Aug
26
2008
Arya Ponto • Contributor

As former Editor of JPP, Arya likes to entertain peeps with his thoughts on pop culture, when he's not busy watching Battle Royale for the 200th time. He lives in Brooklyn with a comic book collection that's always the most daunting thing to move with, and writes for Artboiled.com.

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