gavin hood

The buzz leading up to X-Men Origins: Wolverine was toxic. Reports of huge creative differences didn’t help, but things got worse when the film leaked online. After a rocky production, it wasn’t very surprising when the film turned out to be a major disappointment. Director Gavin Hood has done fine work since then, like Ender’s Game and Eye in the Sky, but X-Men Origins: Wolverine sticks out of his filmography like a sore thumb, for a variety of reasons.

The director hasn’t said too much about the film in the past, but now he’s opened up a little about his experience on the 2009 comic book movie.

After winning an Oscar for Tsotsi, Hood got the opportunity to make his first Hollywood movie. Rendition, he says, was actually a “positive experience,” but he wasn’t afforded the same level of creative freedom on his followup film, X-Men Origins: WolverineHugh Jackman and Hood wanted to make a movie “about a guy who is a superhero, but doesn’t really like what he does and has all this post-traumatic stress disorder.”

That’s not the movie we got, sadly. While Hood discussed his latest film, Eye in the Sky, at the Miami International Film Festival, he reflected on his superhero movie (source: Indiewire):

When ‘Tsotsi’ happened, the best we were hoping for, frankly, was to get the film released in our own country. It was made for a very low budget, and so the event that followed, including the Oscar, were not something you planned, and they came, frankly, as a huge shock, and I thought we were very lucky, and it could have been somebody else, but when it happened, Hollywood has a strange sense of calling, and when you’re young, you have a strange way of being flattered by that call, for good or bad.

That call led to a tough experience. Hood had to deal with stunt casting, a second unit director he couldn’t see eye to eye with, and a writers’ strike left the production without a finished script. When the title of the film was changed Hood wasn’t even aware about it until Jackman showed it to him on IMDB.

Hood, wisely, doesn’t play the blame game, taking full responsibility for the film:

I’m very grateful because I managed to buy a house off that film, so don’t get me wrong. I own the mistakes I made. I learned a great deal, but I hope that the film tonight is more in my wheelhouse. If you don’t like the film, you can tell me after. I come back for Q&A, and I have no one to blame. It comes from working with a writer who I loved, prepping it with producers who really wanted to make the same movie, and that’s the Hollywood story.

Eye in the Sky is absolutely more in Hood’s wheelhouse. The director takes war and violence very seriously in his work, but X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a big cartoon. Eye in the Sky, on the other hand, treats the idea of one innocent life lost as a tragedy, which isn’t something we could say about Hood’s X-Men movie.

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