We don’t normally recommend reading Vanity Fair, but the enormous, detailed piece that will turn out to be either a victory lap or damage control promises to be a pretty fascinating look at how something like this goes off the rails and how studios try to recover it.
There’s a preview of the article posted online, and honestly, it’s a little jolting how frank it is:
When it came time to watch the director’s cut, Holson reports, the room was silent. “It was, like, Wow. The ending of our movie doesn’t work,” says [Paramount President of Production Marc] Evans. “I believed in that moment we needed to reshoot the movie.” After 10 minutes of polite discussion, everyone left. “We were going to have long, significant discussions to fix this,” he recalls thinking.
Other tidbits revealed include the fact they started shooting without actually writing an ending, and that Damon Lindelhof, brought in to save the whole thing, wound up writing an ending that involved scrapping an entire battle scene set in Russia. Oh, and that somehow millions of production invoices wound up in a drawer, meaning Paramount had to bust out the credit card.
It’s particularly interesting because Vanity Fair got Paramount execs, writers like Lindelhof, and the movie’s director Marc Forster on the record discussing what went right, what went wrong, and so on. It’s essentially a post-mortem without the movie actually being in theaters. It’s going to be fairly interesting to see whether this particular sow’s ear was made into a silk purse.