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Once-hot action director Renny Harlin is now saying he knew 'Cutthroat Island' -- a.k.a. the megaflop that basically sunk his career -- was box-office suicide, and that he and then-wife Geena Davis "begged" to get out of making it.

"Originally, Michael Douglas was supposed to star," Harlin told KCRW. "[Geena and I] begged to be let go... And I don't think I've ever said this in any other interview. We begged." Harlin confides, "Geena was scared mindless about headlining this film. We felt that a pirate movie with a female lead was suicidal, but we were contractually obligated."

During the interview, Harlin puts all the blame on the now-defunct production company, Carolco, which wouldn't release him and Davis from their contract and told him flat-out, "We don't care if the script is not good." The director reveals, "I personally spent a million dollars of my own money," by hiring Marc Norman, who won an Oscar for 'Shakespeare in Love' to work on the script. The movie cost $98 million and earned a woeful $10 million.

At the time, Harlin was red-hot and coming off the hits 'Die Hard' and 'Cliffhanger:'
It was a good reminder, I think, in a way, that when you start believing in yourself too much, and thinking that you're invincible, that you're a genius, that someone brings you down and says, like, "OK, you're definitely not a genius, and you've had a good run, but you have to be humble and play by the rules."
How badly was Harlin's career affected? His latest film, '5 Days of War,' opened on Aug. 19 in only six theaters. Made for a budget of $12 million, it's so far earned a mere $17,376, according to Box Office Mojo.

So is 'Cutthroat Island' really that bad in retrospect? Would it do better now in a post-'Pirates of the Caribbean' era?

[KCRW via Slashfilm]