The poster touts “from the writer of ‘Taxi Driver’ and co-writer of ‘Raging Bull’,” but in case you haven’t paid attention, director Paul Schrader —who the poster is referring to— does not want you to see his latest movie “Dying Of The Light.” Its stars Nicolas Cage and Anton Yelchin don’t really want you to see it either, nor does the executive producer filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn.
Why? In short, the producers on the film took the film away from Schrader; at least he alleges as much. Their take is that Schrader quit after they asked for certain changes, whereas he contends he was forced out of the editing room and the producers took over.
Schrader, Cage, Refn and Yelchin then took to Facebook to mount a silent protest. Under the terms of their contract, they are not allowed to disparage the film or the producers. So instead, they hit the social media site and wore T-shirts in solidarity stating the terms of those conditions. The quartet didn’t outwardly speak their protest or claim that you shouldn’t see the film, but the message is loud and clear: this is no longer Schrader’s movie creatively, he does not endorse it and neither do the principal creatives.
Of course, in many ways this makes the film more enticing to viewers. Just how bad is it? Or just how unlike Schrader’s vision is the film? Well, unless he discusses it —which it sounds like he can’t— or we see the original version (very doubtful), we’ll never know.
Of course, this is not the first time this has happened to Schrader: he seems to have bad luck as such. His ‘Exorcist’ prequel was re-cut without him and partially reshot by “Cliffhanger” filmmaker Renny Harlin. But Schrader was somewhat vindicated when Harlin’s version was destroyed by critics and was able to release his own version “Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist” (though to be fair, critics were not much kinder to it).
“Dying Of The Light” centers on a a veteran CIA agent (Cage) who has been ordered to retire. But when his protégé (Yelchin) uncovers evidence that Lake’s nemesis, the terrorist Banir (Alexander Karim), has resurfaced, Lake goes rogue, embarking on a perilous, intercontinental mission to eliminate his sworn enemy. “Dying Of The Light” will have Schrader’s name on it when it opens in theaters and On Demand on December 5, but whether you think it truly bears his authorship is another matter. Watch the first clip from the film below.