Interesting story with this one. Paul Schrader, who wrote Taxi Driver (a classic) and recently conspired with Bret Easton Ellis to bring us The Canyons (by most counts not a classic) has a new movie coming out called Dying of the Light. Only he’s not too thrilled about the way it turned out. Nor are his stars Nicolas Cage and Anton Yelchin. Nor is executive producer Nicolas Winding Refn (who was supposed to direct this a few years back with Harrison Ford in the lead role).
Apparently Schrader was locked out of the editing room on the film and the movie that’s being prepped for release is not his vision. Contractually he is forbidden to trash the movie given a non-disparagement clause in his contract, but he found a nifty way out of that and a way to get his message across. Hit the jump for the Dying of the Light trailer and to learn more about the controversy at hand. The film gets a limited release on December 5th.
Schrader shared the following on his Facebook page (and make sure to click on that image so you can read the shirts):
“We lost the battle. “Dying of the Light,” a film I wrote and directed, was taken away from me, redited, scored and mixed without my imput. Yesterday Grindstone (a division of Lionsgate) released the poster and the trailer. They are available on line. Here we are, Nick Cage, Anton Yelchin, Nic Refn and myself, wearing our “non-disparagement” T shirts. The non-disparagement clause in an artist’s contract gives the owners of the film the right to sue the artist should the owner deem anything the artist has said about the film to be “derogatory.” I have no comment on the film or others connected with the picture.”
I’m going to go ahead and side with the artist because that’s my default setting, but this issue I’m sure is fairly complicated. While I always think it’s a healthy thing for a director to have as much control as possible over their output, given The Canyons there’s always a chance that Schrader’s cut wasn’t all that great. Not that the below trailer of the studio’s cut is good. It’s not. This looks like an ugly film in an inextricably ugly situation.