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Babylon A.D.'s Mathieu Kassovitz Opens Up About Fox Negatively

by
August 25, 2008
Source: AMC

Mathieu Kassovitz on Babylon A.D.

Babylon A.D. hits theaters this coming weekend, August 29th, but apparently it's not going to be the movie that even its director, Mathieu Kassovitz, wanted it to be. In a rather eye-opening interview with AMC, Kassovitz opens up about the problems he had with Fox and the troubles with the film. If you're one of those people who thought it wouldn't be a problem if Fox ended up getting the distribution rights to Watchmen, just wait until you read about the things they did to Kassovitz and the situation they've left him in - I think you'll change your mind. This is truly a tragic story to hear and unfortunately it's too late to do anything anyway. "I never had a chance to do one scene the way it was written or the way I wanted it to be. The script wasn't respected. Bad producers, bad partners, it was a terrible experience."

Kassovitz starts off this tragic tale by explaining that "the scope of the original book [that this is based on] was quite amazing." But unfortunately the result is not the same. "It's pure violence and stupidity," Kassovitz says. And that's not a good thing that he's describing. "The movie is supposed to teach us that the education of our children will mean the future of our planet. All the action scenes had a goal: They were supposed to be driven by either a metaphysical point of view or experience for the characters… instead parts of the movie are like a bad episode of 24." If a director is saying that about his own movie, you definitely know something went wrong, very wrong. Kassovitz attempts to explain how the entire film slipped out of his hands and into Fox's, which is where all the problems began.

Babylon A.D.Apparently the film had production problems from the start, including weather delays and budget concerns. "Fox was sending lawyers who were only looking at all the commas and the dots. They made everything difficult from A to Z." Then, as we know, Fox stepped in around April and cut the film down, quite a bit. The official running time is supposedly only 90 minutes, but apparently that's much shorter (or different) than it could have been. Kassovitz says that "I know what I had -- I had something much better in my hands but I just wasn't allowed to work." And he goes on to say "I don't see how people who went through all these amazing blockbusters like The Dark Knight and Iron Man this summer will take it." That's probably the smartest thing I've heard, considering most filmmakers just shrug off other movies like that.

I knew there were problems with Fox and Babylon A.D. earlier this year when we reported that they were cutting it down, but I didn't even know Kassovitz was this upset. That explains why he's not doing any press for the film. I actually was excited to see this, based on the trailers, but now I'm not even sure I will. Hearing what Kassovitz said has left me quite depressed and quite angry at Fox. Now you know why I am so adamantly fighting against their acquisition of Watchmen. Hearing a director say "I had something much better in my hands" is such a sad thing to hear. And if we can leave you, or anyone, with a bit of wisdom, we'll let Kassovitz tell it to you. "I should have chosen a studio that has guts. Fox was just trying to get a PG-13 movie. I'm ready to go to war against them, but I can't because they don't give a shit."

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  • Wanted to see it
    That sucks; I feel for the guy. I'd be pretty pissed if I knew I made a way better movie than the final product. Sounds like he put a lot of heart into it too...
  • You said it, this really it really is a sad demise for the film. I think I said back when the trailer was first released, "A film with a CHILDREN OF MEN-esque plotline, the effects like IRON MAN, played to the music of REQUIEM FOR A DREAM can't be bad, could it?" FOX seems to really be banging itself around and those execs really need to shape up because this much bad press will definitely not be leading them in a good direction.
  • Ah, this might help explain why Fox isn't screening this movie for press before the wide release. They've "produced" the flick into a piece of shit, and they're fully aware of it. Too bad. I was hoping to get some gratuitous action fun-times out of this one. But it sounds like it'll be just too *bad* to enjoy.
  • Zso
    Anything named Fox or owned by something named Fox is full of corruption. 20th Century Fox. Fox News. Fox (the channel). The name Fox implies being sly or sneaky, so people shouldn't be surprised. Outfoxed. Damn you, Rupert Murdoch! Damn you!
  • FOX has demonstrated itself consistently over the years as the moronic younger sibling of the movie & TV industry. Not only do they increasingly produce worse & worse TV shows that often get canceled within 13 episodes, they cancel even the good ones (Arrested Development, anyone?). It's so sad, to see such a great director the likes of Kassovitz abandon even his own artistic production. More so, it's angering to know that they stepped in & on his production with such reckless abandon. What's the point of hiring someone to paint your house if you constantly grab their brush and do everything for the? And don't even get me started on FOX News...
  • Richard
    Wow, f*** Fox, I'm starting to hate the way they work, the bad thing is I support a lot of the shows and movies that are under them, how does Hollywood and Directors deal with this? Everything a great show comes out on Fox they squash it, Dark Angel, Serenity, Titus, Arrested Development, wtf. What are these guys supposed to do?
  • Chuckyyyy
    FOX always seemed like they don't know what they're doing. With the exception of Family Guy, the Simpsons (been for 18 or 19 years now) amd X1 and 2 They don't really seem make great work in the long. How do they keep making money??? They lose enough of it. . . .
  • Ben
    Both Fox and the Weinsteins have similar histories of either wrecking productions or perhaps worse, burying a film just to spite the director. Ask Mike Judge (Idiocracy) or Kyle Newman (Fanboys). If there's any justice, talent will catch on and refuse to deal with them; they should both be relegated to only putting out the dregs like Superhero Movie or the upcoming Disaster Movie.
  • chrisUK
    Remember the scene in the board room in Dogma? That should happen to Fox.
    • Casualman2010
      *slow clap* Yes. Yes it should.
  • Darrin
    wait for directors cut on dvd
  • It's actually not the first time that Mathieu Kassovitz has a bad experience working with an American studio. After "Gothika" came out, he was pretty upset by the whole experience. Apparently, he wasn't really allowed to do what he wanted on that movie either. Although I don't think he talked about it in the USA, but he definitely talked about it in France. From what I remember, I don't think he was even really allowed to direct Halle Berry. And now this. It's really too bad because he is such a great director and he is not able to show off his talent.
  • Curits
    I think Fox should just leave the directors to there work and stop fucking with what they dont understand, this is the second movie (that i no of) that they have screwed all to hell (Spider-Man 3) anyone. I was really looking forward to Babylon A.D but now i dont even no if i want to watch it, whats next Fox is most likely gonna screw with X-Men Wolverine and then there gonna get there paws all over Watchmen and just kill it, im getting so sick and tired of FOX and there bullshit!!!!
  • Spider
    I share your sentiments exactly Alex! I, too am starting to dislike Fox more and more. What the hell are the suits on?? Either they are on drugs or just have sh*t for brains. Judging by what happened with"Die Hard With A Vengeance" last year, the "Watchmen" debacle, the abandonment of "X-Files: I Want To Believe" and now the head butting with director Kassovitz, Fox is slipping further towards a catastrophe of epic proportions. This is not gonna be good at the box office this Friday!
  • MacGruber
    It's almost as if Fox intentionally ruins movies for the fun of it.
  • vu
    Shit like that honestly pisses me off. Nobody wins in the end.
  • Daniele
    So it won't be his film coming out Friday. I guess FOX should list themselves as writer, director, and actor since they think so highly of themselves. Why did they hire Mathieu Kassovitz in the first place? Of course, since they take the news out of the people's hands, and seem to know what's best for this country (not to say other networks are not without their faults), how do they seem to shock people with their actions?
  • nef deppard
    Quote-"The movie is supposed to teach us that the education of our children will mean the future of our planet. All the action scenes had a goal: They were supposed to be driven by either a metaphysical point of view or experience for the characters…" And from the sound of this it's possible that what he proposed sucked on screen. Wait till you see it. BTW, shouldn't most of you dopy leftys be in Denver wearing stupid paper mache hats and screaming impeach Bush, or Fox sux, or something?
  • Blue Silver
    #17 If the director's vision is butchered to hell, what are we going to see on screen? It's possible that the film was a semi-deep thought provoking story that just had to be dumbed down to please the likes of you. That said, it seems only you will be checking it out. Imagine if WB had butchered "Dark Knight"! What a mess it would have been. Use your head. That's why we're posting--that's our point. BTW, how's Denver?
  • samm
    @ previous comment on canceling arrested development. But also Firefly!! Dammit Fox.
  • That is pretty gay of Fox to turn into complete assholes, for the fun of it, it seems. Ruining several movies, canceling TV shows...and what is going on in Denver? I don't watch the news =\
  • REAL6
    FUCK FOX!!!!!!!!! Damn man, i really wanted to see this film. The book was awesome!!!!! I feel so bad for the director. You could tell the movie would have been good if he had his way...
  • Am i crazy or are people bemoaning the "dumbing down" of a VIN DIESEL movie!? Did i miss his big dramatic breakthrough?
  • Robert
    #10 - exactly! Maybe this is all marketing. Maybe they know this will have legs on DVD/Blu-ray, so will go the extra mile and make it Director's Cut. It's almost certainly going to happen that way.
  • nef deppard
    Quote- "It's possible that the film was a semi-deep thought provoking story that just had to be dumbed down to please the likes of you." Yeah, anything is possible. But I am fairly sure that it is also meant to - 1. Be an action film. 2. Make money. So I'll repeat myself. Wait till you see it. I'll leave the 'semi-deep' thought provoking story for you to interpret. Lol.
  • #22: That's what I was thinking when I heard and read about this movie. I actually expected this to be a standard dumb Vin Diesel action flick - only taking place in a cool setting. But now that I've read that this could (and should!) have been much more than that in the opinion of director Mathieu Kassovitz, I'm really getting mad at FOX. I so urgently want to see a really good scifi/cyberpunk movie that's not completely brainless... and now reading this makes me kind of sad.
  • Curtis G
    It's sad because everyone bashes Vin Disel (Including myself) for his shitty movies (expect chronicles of riddick) and when he finally has one that looks good, FOX f**ks it up. I am sure there was contracts involved, but why didn't the director and diesel boycott the film?
  • Kelley
    Will there be a director's cut dvd? If so, I wont see it in theatres, I'll just wait.
  • Andrew
    Fox is by far the worst major studio in the business. They have little if any respect for the people who make their films, and they only care about money. They're the only major studio you could ever picture releasing films like Date Movie, Epic Movie, and Meet the Spartans (Disaster Movie is distributed by Lionsgate, and they're nowhere near as big as the other major studios, so at least they have an excuse).
  • Symb666
    Just like they did with Hitman. Another director's movie ruined.
  • Buttons
    Yeah. Live free die hard Hitman, all in the span of 2007 Sucks. I might just have to wait for dvd.
  • Blue Silver
    #24 I have interpret it---in the form of "Dark Knight". What "Babylon A.D" will be, who knows, I just won't be watching it. It just sucks to hear a director express himself that way. And yes #22 you must have missed his dramatic turn in "Saving Private Ryan" under Steven Spielberg's direction! I, for one was hoping for a good story in "Babylon AD" to go along with all the action. It appears it won't be that way. So have fun!!
  • JL
    @ 17,24 nef deppard, I suppose you think that the war in Iraq was a good idea, and that the economy is actually in good shape right now.
  • Dwarfman
    You forgot one "Fox Interactive". They haven't even produced a good game. I hope they burn. I miss you Josh.
  • Well, not to play the devil's advocate, but I kind of want to see the film first. I know Kassovitz to spoke publicly about his terrible experience on GOTHIKA too and that was WB, so I am kind of curious what his "idea" of the film is supposed to be like that Fox would step in so majorly. I am not saying Fox didn't do anything wrogn but two different studios in a sense "taking" the film away from him and retooling it themselves leaves some questions to rasie about Mathieu also. If he thinks his film is so bad then why is his name still on every single commercial???? I am not building a case for Fox, but something weird seems to be happening. 1. He could have been a hired gun, just a name in front of a picture with the studio calling all of the shots or 2. He could just be making up an excuse for his directing. I believe he is talented, but something seems a bit off to me. If Fox got WATCHMEN (which I believe they will not, WB will just pay them off), I doubt they would change a film like that up b/c trust, that fan base will drop a friggin bomb on Fox. But look at it this way, no FOX no FOX SEARCHLIGHT.
  • I think I'll watch the movie regardless, and trhen wait to see the director's cut. Let's face it, I'm not boycotting any movie anywhere. But to hear a man talk like this... God, Murdoch has infected the heart of a once-healthy studio and has left us a whiny bitch. Of course, I'm not saying Kassovitz is a saint, but I also seem to hear Fox being badmouthed a lot... or is it just me?
  • greg
    i just watched a midnight showing of the movie... my thoughts were. it was a great film but you could tell it was chopped up. it jumped in the middle from the characters not knowing anything about eachother and not getting along. to all of a sudden buddies??? what the fuck. then there was the ending which i dont want to spoil but they took alot out. i was pissed about the last 5 mins. of the film. put it this way. it involves and unfinished ending with what the fuck happenened about the lady who was after them? then they are back at his house safe and sound for no reason???? my point is...HOW THE FUCK WERE THEY ABLE TO HIDE FOR YEARS FROM THE LADY WHO KNEW WHERE THEY WERE??? great job fox. fuckin assholes. i hope you can release it the right way on dvd at least. don't they ever think about what people want to see? oh i forgot. thats hollywood, they know everything. ha
  • Merc
    Well, Greg... I'm glad you warned us. Fox has just absolutely turned around and fucked itself in the ass... Seriously, they're doing a horrible job of hiding the fact they're a bunch of assholes that sit at a long table and plot world domination, aren't they?. Although, we knew that all along, didn't we... Someone drop a fucking bomb on them, please.
  • mmw
    Hello Alex, thank you for your review, yesterday I went to the cinema and watched the movie... I felt really annoyed when I went out, because I did not understand what I had just watched, not a film by Mathieu neither the book by Maurice G. Dantec (Babylon Babies), so your review gives me a few clues, although the actors and the cast (Depardieu in Dioxine man like, Diesel, Yeoh, Thierry, Wilson, Rampling, Dicko...) are very good, but the result is very disrespectful for all, you do not even understand the story of the movie why/who/when (fundamental points), the aspect of fanatism/relegion is totally abscent, you "vaguely" understand why she's been created... indeed, this is the MAIN theme of the book!, I also regret to see that Mathieu has not been surrounded by people like Jodorowsky or Enki Bilal for the artwork, may be that would have been a positive point to defend his movie. In conclusion, I would say that we need to go see the film to support Mathieu andd all great actors not only the "starts", but do not expect to watch a movie by Mathieu with a good casting or a good SF movie. take it like a "boum boum action" movie and the result should be fine. Cheers!
  • the previews for Babylon AD made me expect something a lot more original... it totally felt like a cross between Minority Report and the Fifth Element
  • lerathel
    I did not know anything about that before watching the movie... I had to search for answer after. it look like half the movie was cut near the end. the first 3/4 is exelent. more detail would be nice. AND A BETTER ENDING !!!!!!! what are those babie ? why did she seem to die... many month and then years miss. a a lot of info on her mother... I wish for a director cut version of the films because its great ! but there is too much thing cut I was sure it was cut a lot before reading this ! please do a director cut dvd/blueray, else I will have to become a spy and leak the director cut version of it... 😛
  • David
    I saw Babylon AD in Sweden the full 1:40min version and to be honest it was one of the best films I have seen in a long time. I totally got it! This film is about the Police State, The anti Christ, The coming Messiahs AKA the two witnesses in Revelations...It even has all this happening because of 911 If you have a change to see an uncut version with these key topics in mind you will see a great movie. Hey if you know any thing about Fox new then you know you can not trust there editing. David
  • Autumn
    Fox has a habit of destroying a director's dream for the sake of what's politically correct. Just ask Ridley Scott. Watch the theatrical version of his "Kingdom of Heaven" and then watch his director's cut. They are two totally different films. Not surprised Fox has done this again.

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