You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

‘Barbarian’ Director Almost Couldn’t Get #MeToo Horror Movie Made: ‘Nobody Wants to Follow a Rapist’

Zach Cregger was adamant about not "de-fanging" the horror/thriller feature just for the sake of selling it.

Justin Long as Cale in 20th Century Studios' BARBARIAN, exclusively on Hulu. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.


Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Barbarian” writer/director Zach Cregger made the movie that no one thought was possible.

The film follows Tess (Georgina Campbell), a woman who is uneasily staying with a stranger (Bill Skarsgård) in a double-booked Airbnb owned by a former actor facing a #MeToo scandal (Justin Long). And while the horror film has a series of twists, including a sharp pivot roughly 40 minutes in, Cregger’s nonconforming script structure is part of why it took so long to make.

“I made a spreadsheet of every production company that had made a horror movie in the last 15 years and sent it out to all of them, and every one of them said no,” Cregger told Vulture of the now viral hit film. “They didn’t like that the movie resets on page 50. They didn’t like that there’s a character who’s part of Hollywood. And they said nobody wants to follow a rapist for 30 pages.”

Cregger continued, “All of these things that people were picking on, especially the lack of a structure, were the things that excited me the most. I knew that if I were to polish those edges, I would be compromising this thing and defanging it before it had a chance.”

He said that A24 completely passed on the film, and while Neon met with Cregger, there was no follow-up.

Eventually, Cregger connected with BoulderLight, as co-founder Raphael Margules said that they were all “completely on the same page” with Cregger’s vision. “It’s a weird movie on paper, but it’s never not funny, scary, thrilling, entertaining,” Margules said. “The very reasons people passed on it is why we wanted to do it.”

New Regency, Vertigo, and finally, Disney boarded the horror thriller.

“Credit to Disney, because they really had a lot to do with this movie’s success, and they completely understood from the beginning how to market this thing,” Margules said. “They talked about how they want this movie to feel like a ‘discovery.’ They implanted that sense of creating something in the audience.

IndieWire critic Jude Cry teased the film’s “unexpected third act reveal — yet another abrupt swing that earns ‘Barbarian’ its title by dragging us into the realm of the barbaric” — in their review.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox