Although we all watch movies, I don't think many of us will ever get to have that true Hollywood experience - and I'm not talking about the type that Hugh Grant got back in '95! (Zing!)
Last week we told you that director Lexi Alexander had been removed from post-production on Punisher: War Zone by studio Lionsgate. Her website seemed to corroborate the news when it posted a picture of three monkeys in the classic "See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil" pose.
Now CHUD is reporting that Lexi is firmly on-board with the film, and that the story of her "departure" was a work of fiction meant to drum up publicity. Meanwhile, her website has now been updated with a few words from the director herself that appear rather vague, but seem to imply that she's had a rough ride with the film.
SO WHAT'S THE REAL STORY?
The history of Hollywood is littered with people who have been chewed up and spit out by the dream factory. Films have been written, shot and edited, only to have the wonderful minds behind them cut out of the final stages. Heck, directors have even been removed from projects before they could even wrap principal photography. In the end, many of these mangled projects go down in legend as "the films that might have been."
One only has to look at a list like Ridley Scott on Blade Runner; Terry Gilliam's Brazil; Richard Stanley's The Island of Doctor Moreau; Paul Schrader's The Exorcist: Dominion; and Orson Welles on just about anything, to realize that $tudio/creative tug-of-war is an all too frequent occurrence in the film industry. While some "interrupted" films ultimately get salvaged and turn out to be classics, others have been forgotten in the mists of time. (How many of you have heard about Stanley's ordeal on Moreau?)
Is Lexi Alexander's Punisher: War Zone the latest to be added to the list of cinematic stillborns?
According to CHUD's source:
"...most of the drama is a bunch of hooey. Hype. Hullabaloo drummed up to generate more interest in the film. Lexi Alexander is still the director and the cut will be locked in a couple weeks."
This is an interesting assertion; but is bad publicity ALWAYS good publicity, considering the jaded history of The Punisher on the big-screen?
Lexi Alexander had this to say over on her website:
"Since my monkeys made so much news, I decided to replace them with something a bit more interesting to talk about. Now, if I would have real balls a picture of me mooning the vicious cyber world would follow, but unfortunately I haven’t had time to workout, so it wouldn’t be a pretty sight. Yes, my formerly cute ass has been planted on a chair in front of my computer to adapt the Brit book that Deborah Del Prete (producer of THE SPIRIT) mentioned at Comicon. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah."
Now that is a very interesting quote.
She goes on to say about her website:
"I’m not using this site as an information source anymore, I figured it could
be a “vision board”.
"Now for me it’s time to move on and look towards the future... The way I see it, no matter if you work in an Ice cream shop, or a textile mill or in lovely peaceful Hollywood, life is all about getting the full experience. If things would always go smooth, it wouldn’t even be a half ass experience. You gotta win it all, lose it all, start from the beginning, get it all back and so on. Exciting times."
These words seem to imply that she is no longer involved with the film at all, and that she's had a tough time with War Zone since the day one. And, with no mention of the film by name, one can only presume that her non-disclosure agreement with Lionsgate has already gone into effect.
But then, maybe Alexander is just playing the marketing game. She could still be behind the wheel of Punisher: War Zone, steering it through post production even as we speak. However, truth be told, I feel that the info coming from CHUD was just damage control by Lionsgate, aimed at soothing fanboy worry. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty certain that we're going to be hearing a lot more about these behind-the-scenes shake-ups in the coming weeks. I'll keep you posted.
Do we even dare state a release date for Punisher: War Zone at this point? Let's just hope (or not) that the movie gets to see the light of day.
Sources: Lexi Alexander and Chud