A director is firing back after "Hunger Games" star Elizabeth Banks called the indie she made with him the worst mistake of her career.
In a recent interview with Slate.com, Banks described her first acting job on the 1998 dark comedy, "Surrender Dorothy," in less than glowing terms.
"The guy who was going to be the lead in the movie ... right before we started shooting, that guy got a 'real job' [makes air quotes]," the actress recalled. "And the writer/director played the lead role as well because there was no one else to do it! ... And I thought, 'I'd better go to drama school and learn how to never have this job again.'"
Now Kevin DiNovis, who directed the film, is reacting to her diss: "I'm shocked and deeply hurt by Ms. Banks' comments, and confused as to how she could consider her first break -- in Hollywood or anywhere -- as a career mistake."
In a statement released to THR, DiNovis said that he was most offended by her comment about drama school. "What exactly does she mean by 'this type of job'? Because there she seems to insult not just my work, but rather the entire American independent film movement. Making movie outside the traditional studio system is an immense struggle. To have that struggle so blithely denigrated by a collaborator -- especially one in Ms. Banks position -- feels a bit like she's firing cannons at a butterfly."
He admitted that his film "may not be a grand-slam crowd-pleaser like 'The Hunger Games,'" but that it's "managed to earn a solid reputation as a contemporary cult film. I can think of a lot less auspicious films for Ms. Banks to have made her debut in. A few of them even turn up on her own resume."
DiNovis's film does have its fans: It won a grand jury prize at the Slamdance Film Festival, the Chicago Underground and the New York Underground film festivals and was chosen by Roger Ebert as the opening night movie for his Overlooked Film Festival.
The movie, about a junkie who is forced to dress up like a woman, has a 42 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes. That's slightly lower than the other "Surrender Dorothy" movie that came out the same year, which starred Diane Keaton as a grieving mother who's lost her daughter.
Banks has not yet commented on DiNovis's reaction, but she doesn't seem to regret her interview with Slate since she tweeted the link.