London Fields was savagely destroyed, not only getting a 0% score on Rotten Tomatoes and one of the worst box office debuts in history, but the film was actually delayed for over 3 years. Based on the 1989 novel of the same name by author Martin Amis (Who co-wrote the film’s script with Roberta Hanley), the film was originally set to make it’s debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015. However, it was pulled from the festival roster when the film’s director Mathew Cullen sued the film’s producers, not only accusing them of fraud, but using his name to promote a cut of the film he did not support. This was followed a year later by a lawsuit the producers made against co-star Amber Heard which was settled immediately while the first lawsuit by Cullen remained. So how was the film finally released?
To finally make his version of the film, Cullen made a deal with the distributor in which, if they agreed to release it on a small number of screens, he would spend his own money to finish his version of the film, something he felt he had to do a year ago. The cut currently in theaters nationwide though is not that version, but Cullen also didn’t take his name off the final version released, offering the following explanation in a new interview he had today:
Under DGA rules, I could have used a pseudonym, but in that process, I wouldn’t ever be allowed to talk about the film again and I wouldn’t have had the ability to release my version of the film.
That being said, Cullen’s agrees with the harsh reviews for the film:
I’ve read the reviews. I agree with them. There’s a reason why they said that Amis’ book was unadaptable.
To understand how big this project was, directors ranging from David Cronenberg (Eastern Promises) to David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water) to Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart) were all at one time linked to the film and then passed on the project. It’s a shame the film turned out the way it did, but it should stand at an example of what happens when creative forces and studios do not coordinate properly. Perhaps to avert such a disaster next time. Stay tuned!