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Olivier Assayas Talks The “Painful Horror” Behind The Shut Down Of ‘Idol’s Eye’ With Robert Pattinson & Robert De Niro

Olivier Assayas Talks The “Painful Horror” Behind The Shut Down Of ‘Idol’s Eye’ With Robert Pattinson & Robert De Niro

French filmmaker Olivier Assayas is still riding high off the reception to his latest work, “Clouds Of Sils Maria.” In February, the film’s star, Kristen Stewart, became the first American actress to win France’s Cesar Award for her performance. “Clouds Of Sils Maria” seemed to confuse some critics at Cannes last year, but almost ironically, it’s been American critics who have been most receptive to this stageplay-like, mirror-reflecting film about time, aging, and identity. It’s a layered, intimate movie, and had things gone according to plan, last fall, Assayas would’ve changed gears to work on a completely different kind of project.

The director was ready to mount his first American-financed film, the crime story “Idol’s Eye” starring Robert Pattinson, Robert De Niro, and Rachel Weisz, when financiers Benaroya Pictures pulled out at the last minute. The reasons that the film shut down at the time were somewhat cryptic, but obviously creatively and financially motivated. At the time, Benaroya released a statement that claimed “the criteria for financing” was “not being met by producers,” and that they had “[missed] a number of financing criteria deadlines.” Thus, the company felt at risk and pulled the plug.

Asssayas and his producers never really had their chance to respond, so when talking to the filmmaker last week about “Clouds Of Sils Maria,” we had to ask. “It was a horror,” Assayas said. “A long painful horror story. Let’s just say that did it put me off being involved with these kinds of projects in any kind of way in the foreseeable future.”

READ MORE: Olivier Assayas’ ‘Idol’s Eye’ Starring Robert Pattinson And Robert De Niro Officially Canceled

While the filmmaker didn’t exactly spell out in any specific terms what the disagreements were, he did suggest that the financiers weren’t above board, nor were they on the same page with the filmmakers. Has the experience put him off American productions in general? “Let’s say I’ll think twice about it — the possibilities of making movies in the U.S.,” he said. “The problem is… it’s a different approach to filmmaking and it’s… Let’s say I was involved with those people [the financiers] and I don’t want to be.”

“And making movies is being involved with people I like and who live in a similar world and here I was involved with people who live in a completely different world who have completely different values and function differently,” he continued. “Where I thought there was some kind of common ground, I realized there was zero common ground.”

“Idol’s Eye” was a hugely anticipated project, one that probably would have bowed at Cannes or one of the other major film festivals, and what most fans want to know is, will he ever make this film?

“Mmmm… I would do it if my producer managed if I could get true control of it,” Assayas said, but he didn’t exactly sound hopeful. “If I don’t have full control I would never trust the people who were involved with it. But I will never take those kinds of risks. I would only be involved in that film if I was guaranteed complete security that his is happening on normal, decent filmmaking terms and not in the middle of the madness we went through.”

Asked about what the film would have been like, Assayas stressed what an ordeal the experience was.

“The whole thing is a shame because I think I had the perfect cast and the project was really exciting,” he explained. “It was incredibly frustrating because we were ready and the financier pulled out 24 hours before shooting which is unheard of. It’s something that never happens. And 24 hours before shooting you have all the elements there, all your cast, all your sets you have the whole film in your mind. To me, you know I can watch the entire film in my mind. I know exactly what it would have been and that’s very frustrating.”

Those holding out hope for an Assayas-directed “Idol’s Eye” should note at the end of Benaroya’s original statement the company stressed they retained the rights to the film and were planning on moving “forward with production on the picture after we generate a revised script and assemble a new filmmaking team.” It’s a disappointment, but whatever the filmmaker gets up to next, we’ll be watching.

More from this interview and “Clouds Of Sils Maria” — which opens in limited release on April 10th — later in the week.

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Comments

Peter

@Mitch, you are the exact reason Pattinson’s fans don’t want him anywhere near Stewart, or mentioned in the same article. You make insane assertions that he should drop out of a film because a mutual director is involved, and then blather on about how she was cast first, which is a lie. Her obnoxious fans are part of the problem. It’s not a competition. They’re never going to compete for the same role, unless she decides to transgender and become a man. But her fans can’t have a logical discussion because they are so insecure and seeking validation they’re never going to get. Just move on and learn to choose your battles.

Mi

Again kstew stans on Rob’s aritcle.The Playlist,next time wite the box office results of COSM.
@Mich better tell your kstew stans to stop harrasing comment sections of rob’s articles,because these grannies can’t move on with their hate towards Rob and especially towards FKA Twigs.

Mitch

wtf I am not the one bitching over the fact they were mentioned in the same article, it was one of his fans who also said "he’s avoiding her", well by her logic, he shouldn’t have agreed doing Idol’s Eyes then (even if he was cast first, he still got to know about Clouds, so he could’ve dropped it if he’s so worried about avoiding her like his fan implied). His fans can’t even deal with her being mentioned in the same article which was made during the promo of her movie. I have no problem with that, or he doing Idol’s Eyes, I have problem with his fans complaining about her for the stupidest things (like being mentioned in the same article). And don’t act like u r above us cause u r still here discussin as well

Mac

wtf, again? Will you be here in 10 years arguing in every comment section? Those stupid wars between Pattinson’s and Stewart’s fans are embarrassing, don’t you people have anything better to do? First of all Mitch, Griffin is right that Pattinson singed up for the movie with Assayas before, I clearly remember that interview with Assayas when he said that he met with Pattinson in London to talk about the details and Stewart was around, though I don’t know how she got the role in the end. Second, why would Pattinson drop out from a movie he wanted to make with people he wanted to work with? Just because his ex accepted an offer from the same director? You’re ridiculous, it sucks that the movie with Pattinson was moved to after Sils Maria and that it didn’t work out, a shame because it sounded great and seeing Pattinson in it would be interesting. To be honest I don’t even understand why Stewart’s fans are here, the interview is about a movie with Pattinson so if you don’t like him just ignore things related to him, it’s really not that difficult. But I also can’t understand why Pattinson’s fans are making a big deal out of Sils Maria and Stewart being mentioned, in the end the interview was because of the release of Sils Maria. It’s an unfortunate situation, but get a grip. These two actors moved on and seem to be doing fine, why can’t their fans move on as well?

MITCH

with Nobody in mind*
sent*

MITCH

Assayas said multiple times he didn’t write the role for ANYONE in MIND. But Kristen became his first choice when he first met her, but she didn’t get the script after they first send her (they thought she refused since she didn’t say anything), so they cast Mia, Mia had to drop out and that’s when they tried to get Kristen again for the role.
I guess you are the dumb and lying one
"Then Kristen finally got ahold of the screenplay and contacted us and told us she wanted to do it. But someone already had a part and that someone couldn’t do it anymore and Kristen came back. So it ended up how it was supposed to be. For me, Kristen was the ideal embodiment of Valentine, perfect."
Assayas

MITCH

"But the minute I sat down with them, especially with Kristen, I knew she was the one. She was on the top of my list and obvious choice anyway. But things don’t really happen that way in movie business, especially it being a small weird European film and so on. So it stopped somewhere in the middle of the development stage." Olivier Assayas

Is he lying too? LOL

Griffin

No, that’s not the way it happened, and it’s been well documented, right here on Playlist. You Stewart fans are so obnoxious and wrong, it’s funny. Assayas had meetings with Pattinson before he ever heard of Stewart. She was not on his radar. She got her role in CoSM through the producer, Charles Gillibert, she even said so in her THR interview this week. Assaysas thought of her for the spoiled, scandalous starlet part that Chloe Moretz eventually played. He wrote the assistant part for Mia Wasikowska, and Stewart only got it when Mia dropped out to do MTTS. You are too dumb to even be commenting. Pattinson’s fans are thrilled he will never be connected to Stewart again. Now if only the media and Stewart’s fans could move on, everyone would be happy.

Mitch

Assayas said he knew Kristen was perfect for the role the same moment he met her, so you can figure when he decided about Pattinson for Idol’s Eyes he already knew about Kristen for Sils since he met them both in the same period. And Pattinson later knew Idol’s would be made after Sils, so if he was so worried about being connected to her, he could easily just drop out which he didn’t.

Griffin

@mitch, Pattinson was cast in Idol’s Eye BEFORE Assayas ever met Stewart. In fact, Assayas talked about an early meeting he had with Pattinson to discuss the script back in 2012, and he said he had just then met Stewart because she was with Pattinson, but she wasn’t part of their discussion and she wasn’t being considered for anything. She got that CoSM part through her connection to Charles Gillibert, her OTR producer. So don’t go making assertions about what Pattinson should do when you are so woefully misinformed as to the timeline. And no one said HE was worried about being connected to her. If he had a PR team, they would be the ones worried about him being linked to her, since her fanbase is so problematic, as your comment just proved. Misinformed and eager to spread misinformation.

Mich

If Robert Pattinson was so worried about not being connected with Kristen, then he shouldn’t have accepted working with a director RIGHT after he would’ve worked with her.

And he didn’t have to mention it, BUT, the journalist was there for the promo of CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA, even if this article is about Idol’s Eyes, he’s doing what he’s supposed to (help promoting Clouds).

Transparent

Honestly, was this about Idol’s Eye or CoSM? Did you really have to mention that film in a story about Idol’s Eye? Yes, I know it’s the same director, but the two have nothing to do with each other and the less you try to connect the two Twilight stars, the better for everyone involved. He’s gone out of his way to avoid her for 2 years now, it’s time for everyone to move on and that includes IndieWire. You know their two fandoms are like a hornets nest, stop doing this insane clickbait.

Mac

@TALIA hmm I don’t know, I heard too many stories like this about Benaroya recently, for example about the movie with Bruce Willis…it’s kind of shady and a weird coincidence. But I may be biased, because I was really excited about this movie and it is a huge disappointment for me that it didn’t work out, especially that it was cancelled in such an awful way, basically at the last minute with everyone ready.

talia

@MAC don’t think it was Benaroya that was the problem, sounds more like the other producers on the film weren’t doing their part.

Mich

@A DAVIES Oh honey, this is an interview during the promo for CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA, of course people will mention Kristen Stewart and not only Robert Pattinson for a cancelled movie. Stay Pressed.

Mac

Shame, it sounded really great with the people involved. I can only imagine what a disappointment it was for all, with all the hard work from everyone to prepare, with schedules, the crew… Really disrespectful and unprofessional. I hope the movie will somehow happen, although without Benaroya and I wish that the cast was the same, but I can imagine these people wouldn’t like to risk it again.

ali

To Bob above. Hi sammie come to beat the stewart drum again – pretending to be a guy LOL

a davies

Dear rodrigo. Are you sure this isn’t just another veiled opportunity to promote kristen stewart. It’s widely known I believe that her PR rep is very friendly with you guys.

mary

I was looking forward to this moviE. Good story and Robert deniro as a villain. Saw sils at cannes sort of stylish but slow

ali

Sounds to me like Benaroya might be somewhat of a clown although Assayas sounds a little naive tbh.
Shame because DeNiro Rachel and Robert were a mouthwatering cast.

Bob

I can’t wait to get a synopsis of his next film that is likely going to star Kristen.
Hopefully it’s the second collaboration of many. I think they are perfect for each other, they make a great duo.

Pico

In another interview Assayas also claims to owning the rights for the story, so someone at Benaroyas messed up, it’s the third movie in 6 months they shut down right around beginning of production, along with "Alive Alone" with Noomi Rapace and Idris Elba and recently "Wake" with Bruce Willis.

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