It hasn’t been a great day for directors. First, Pete Travis (Vantage Point) was locked out of the editing phase of the Judge Dredd reboot. Now there is news that Dream House director, Jim Sheridan, had petitioned the Directors Guild of America over the summer to have his name removed from the project. In retrospect, this would have been a blessing for the six-time Oscar-nominee since Dream House is currently lagging in the box office and is tanking critically.
Once upon a time, a director wishing to distance himself from a project would be replaced by the name “Alan Smithee,” aka “John Doe,” but this usage was discontinued in 2000. Guild etiquette suggests that said director not divulge the circumstances surrounding this move, but thanks to the internet, we have the scoop. Hit the jump for more details.
News of Sheridan’s displeasure with Dream House comes by way of the LA Times. The initial cause for separation stemmed from Sheridan’s negative opinion of the final cut of the film. In petitioning the DGA to remove his name, the guild would have to have found that the final product was significantly different from his intended cut. The bid was originally dropped when Morgan Creek Productions, the major financial backer, agreed to reshoots.
However, tensions on set arose as Sheridan drifted from David Loucka’s script in favor of improvisation. This, in turn, led to Morgan Creek seizing control in the editing phase after less-than-inspiring test screenings. Sheridan did not have “final cut” of the film and the current iteration of Dream House is a product of Morgan Creek’s edit. (Not that I expect the director’s cut on Blu-ray anytime soon.) Refusing to do publicity for the film when Universal Pictures released it last week, Sheridan resumed his petition of the guild.
One has to question whether this collapse has more to do with the Dream House project or Sheridan’s career in recent years. 2005’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and 2009’s war drama Brothers did not do him any favors. Some seem to believe that the Irish-born Sheridan should return to his roots with relevant cultural themes like his 1993 film In the Name of the Father or 2002’s In America. Perhaps his involvement in the “Cities of Love” franchise, Shanghai, I Love You will net him a result he’d be proud to attach his name to once again.