Our first look at Nicolas Cage and Anton Yelchin in Dying of the Light comes surrounded in controversy as acclaimed writer/director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver; Auto-Focus) is pulled from the film, and the producers are granted final cut.
Check out the image, which was released by Variety in an expose on the long gestating indie thriller, then read on for more information about the plight of this movie and its eventual fate as it heads towards the box office:
In Dying of the Light, Nicolas Cage is CIA agent Evan Lake, forced into retirement with the onset of frontotemporal dementia. He soon learns that his terrorist enemy Muhammad Banir (Alexander Karim) is not dead and must enlists disgraced agent Milton Schultz (Anton Yelchin) to help track down and confront the villain.
With trouble brewing in the post-production process, writer-director Paul Schrader had Dying of the Light effectively taken away from him, with the thriller to be recut under the supervision of Over Under Media producers Todd Williams and Gary Hirsch. About the incident, Todd Williams explains:
"Paul Schrader's cut of the movie deviated substantially from his own script."
The producer claims that their version is 80% the same as the director's. They did exist certain elements including a voiceover narration. Says Paul Schrader:
"I was never asked back. They finally showed me their cut only as they were entering final post-production. It was a fait accompli."
Dying of the Light was originally supposed to be helmed by acclaimed indie director Nicolas Winding Refn, the man behind fan-favorite thriller Drive, and was set to star Harrison Ford and Channing Tatum. Nicolas Winding Refn stayed on as a producer, and sides with Paul Schrader, calling the new cut an act of "artistic disrespect."
"If there's enough people who want to see this film the right way, the way it was meant to be, hopefully that will be an eye-opener to the people who are expecting to make money on it. It's just bad business."
In the past, Paul Schrader also had Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist publicly taken away from him, with Renny Harlin taking over to create an entirely new film. While Paul Schrader's cut of Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist eventually saw release, it is unclear if the same will be true for Dying of the Light.
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Lionsgate will release Dying of the Light, though no date has been set yet.