The producer of the supposedly controversial film The Hunt would very much like the President of the United States to see his movie. If you’ll recall, The Hunt was a satirical action thriller from co-writer Damon Lindelof and director Craig Zobel that was due to be released by Universal Pictures last fall. The premise of the film was kept under wraps, but the trailers teased a politically charged twist on The Most Dangerous Game, as wealthy elites were seen hunting humans for sport.
In the wake of the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, Universal suspended the promotional campaign for the movie. Two days later, Donald Trump tweeted about “liberal Hollywood” and said an unnamed movie coming out was made “in order to inflame and cause chaos,” presumably referring to The Hunt. The very next day, Universal cancelled the release of the movie altogether.
All involved stayed mostly mum on the matter… until now. Universal hosted a private screening of The Hunt for a group of journalists recently, and Collider was in attendance. After the screening, Lindelof and producer Jason Blum talked about the film, the controversy, and the new marketing campaign. It’s not really spoiling anything to note that everyone had it wrong last fall—this isn’t a movie about conservatives hunting liberals. It’s the other way around.
In truth, The Hunt is a highly satirical film about extremism on both sides of the aisle. And during the post-screening discussion, Blum recalled his reaction when Trump tweeted about the movie and stated emphatically that he’d still like the president to see his movie:
“My overwhelming [feeling], after my being surprised, was trying to figure out how we could get the President to see the movie. That was my biggest thing that I was thinking about at that time. And I would love the President to see the movie.”
Lindelof says he felt similarly when Trump tweeted without having seen the movie, and feels the same now:
“My overwhelming feeling then was what it is now, which is that I wished that he had seen it. The movie that he was talking about was not the movie that I feel that we made. It was the movie that was being reported on. And so if he had said, ‘This is a piece of shit. I’m sorry I wasted my time,’ that would have felt better because at least he was talking about the movie.”
Now, finally, audiences and perhaps Trump himself will have a chance to actually see The Hunt before having an opinion on it. The film hits theaters on March 13th.
For more on the film, watch the brand new trailer.
Perri Nemiroff contributed to this report.