Every year there seems to be one tent pole movie that has a huge behind the scenes mess attached to it.In the summer of 2015, it was Fantastic Four and it seemed like there was just an exuberant amount of news about that film coming again and again. Then in 2016, it was Suicide Squad. They had a ton interesting stuff coming and having a trailer house come in to edit the film. So it isn’t a new thing to hear creatives differences to the extreme occur with a film. Now this year it really seems to be that The Dark Tower is that film.
Variety has released a huge reporting about just how much of a mess this film was. It all began when the project simply had trouble getting off the ground it switched studios, couldn’t find a director. At one point in time, JJ Abrams was the front-runner for the project. They had something lined up with Ron Howard at Universal Studios to tie the movie into a tv series. But then finally Media Rights Capital and Sony Pictures set a co-financing deal. So both Modi Wiczyk (Co Founder of MRC) & Tom Rothman went to work to get the film off the ground and they successfully did and hired Nikolaj Arcel as the director of the film.
But then came the point when Arcel handed in his early cut of the film which had thrown off both Wiczyk and Rothman. The both of them reportedly pondering bringing a more experienced director to clean it up in post-production. But ultimately they decided against it due to the fact that they would have to pay a substantial amount of money for a limited amount of work. But Ron Howard did aid Arcel with the music and the script. Akiva Goldsman also threw his hat into the ring and helped shape out the film.
The deal that MRC and Sony Pictures made led to a very interesting and unique type of production company. Since MRC put up half of the money they were granted something referred to as the ‘kill rights’. Which gave each company final say on everything from marketing to final cut. That is bound to lead to too many cooks in the kitchen which already happens at times. But have to companies backing practically adds to it the headache of filmmaking.
When reshoots (which is always planned for tentpole films) began for a reported 6 million it stated that Tom Rothman wanted to add more back story between The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) and The Gunslinger (Idris Elba). Rothman also wanted audiences to become more familiar with Mid-World where the film would take place.
Now I’m not someone who always hates on studios I really agree that there needs to be a collaboration between the studio and the filmmaker. But when the studio is hiring a director and meeting with many directors they hear the pitch and how they are going to tackle the film. So if you have been pitched the film a certain way and you hire the director, let the director do what you hired him or her to do.
Notes are a thing is required when making a big budget film with a director that hasn’t done it before. They need communication and an understanding between both parties. Just hire the director that will bring out the vision that you have intended for the source material instead of ripping apart the person’s vision.
It will never happen and it’s practically me just yelling at a wall. But studios should just hire the director that will most likely carry out your vision. If you hire the director they should be allowed to carry out the vision they were hired for. Man make movies with people like A24, Annapurna Pictures, Amazon Studios, Netflix, Focus Features and The Weinstein Company.