It comes as little surprise whenever a studio decides to kindly remove a film from a director's hands -- the situation with Lionsgate's treatment of Punisher: War Zone still smells fishy from this end -- but while most filmmakers would proceed to bite their tongues and salvage their careers, Mathieu Kassovitz begs to differ on his own film, the Vin Diesel vehicle Babylon A.D., which opens this Friday in an all-too-familiar August dump situation (joining it on the marquee: alleged comedies Disaster Movie and College).
In an exclusive interview with AMC's sci-fi blog, Kassovitz admits that a troubled production and comprised final cut (at least in the States, although reviews from elsewhere aren't much kinder) are responsible for turning his adaptation of Maurice Georges Dantec's futuristic novel into "pure violence and stupidity... like a bad episode of '24'."
While the film hasn't been trimmed by something like seventy minutes (as previously reported and clarified), Fox has still managed to whittle down the American cut by about fifteen minutes, enough so to leave behind a choppier, more confusing film. He admits that, while he doesn't hate the film, he insists that "I had something much better in my hands but I just wasn't allowed to work" and then openly berates them for "just trying to get a PG-13 movie."
In cases like this and that of last August's similarly retooled The Invasion, I can't help but wonder what the studio suits were thinking when they said, "Let's hand the reins over to this European fellow," only to take issue with the final product. Can Babylon A.D. really not stand to run a mere fifteen minutes longer? Is this a film honestly clamoring for screens and show times this weekend?
Even if that's the case, Kassovitz' candor feels to me like the words of a man who'll keep on trucking and keep on making his films his way, even if the whole of Hollywood manages to lose his phone number from here on out.