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Aeon Flux Director Recalls Studio’s ‘Lacerating’ Feedback: ‘It Was Great’ – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

Aeon Flux Director Recalls Studio’s ‘Lacerating’ Feedback: ‘It Was Great’



Aeon Flux director Karyn Kusama appreciates the harsh criticism she received for the film. The live-action adaptation of the animated series of the same name, released in 2005, starred Charlize Theron as Aeon Flux, a skilled warrior leading a group of rebels in Earth’s last surviving city in a post-apocalyptic future. The movie was a box office bomb and received negative reviews, holding a 9% score at Rotten Tomatoes.


In a recent roundtable discussion with fellow directors, Kusama reflected on her experience with Aeon Flux. She mentioned how she was fired from the project during post-production but was invited back by a Paramount executive who said, “I really hated your version of the movie. But believe it or not, I hate the new version even more.” Kusama considers the remark one of the most backhanded compliments she’s received in her career, but she also believes it was beneficial as it prepared her for what to expect in Hollywood.

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\”It brings up the elemental tension between what we all do, which is just try to make something that has an emotional narrative and visual stylistic coherence versus the ‘throw something at the wall and see what sticks’ attitude that we’re often dealing with. It was great to get such lacerating feedback so early in my career. It helped me understand what we’re all up against and what we’re all trying to defend and preserve in these careers of ours.\”

Kusama also mentioned the negative reception her follow-up film, Jennifer’s Body, received upon release. This had a significant impact on her career, forcing her to fight hard to find work directing for television. Her career turned around when she got involved with the AMC series Halt and Catch Fire.

\”I made a big studio sci-fi love story at 60 times the budget and then another studio film called Jennifer’s Body. Both those films were considered failures at the time, and I hadn’t really even considered the concept of how failure, as much as I think it’s a crucial part of the creative process, affects a career or slows a career down. And so it took me several years to actually get work in television. And it was the ability to start working on a small show at AMC called Halt and Catch Fire. I feel like television ended up helping me reframe the joy of making things.\”

Kusama has recently directed episodes for television shows like Yellowjackets, The Consultant, and Dead Ringers. However, she had some unfortunate luck with film when a Dracula adaptation focusing on Mina Harker that she was set to direct was canceled just ahead of its production start last year.

Related: Karyn Kusama\’s Mina Harker Movie Gets Canceled Just Weeks Before Filming

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Charlize Theron Had a Bad Feeling About Aeon Flux

Charlize Theron also spoke about Aeon Flux in an interview with THR last year. She was excited to join the project as a fan of the animated series, but she realized during production that it had some major issues. Theron believes she should have pushed for the project to shut down until some big changes could be made. At the time, she just wanted to push through and finish the production.

\”You fight until the bitter end. With that one, I don’t know if I had the answers for how to [fix it]but I definitely knew we were in trouble. I wasn’t a producer on it, and I didn’t really have the experience to say what I believe Tom Cruise has maybe said for the past 20 years, which is, \’Shut this sh*t down, get four more writers on it and let’s figure this out.\’ Instead, I’m going, \’Oh God, I’ve just got to get through this day, I have bronchitis, but let’s keep shooting.\’ Now I imagine all these male actors going, \’Shut it down for six months!\’ And it’s like, f**k, no one told me that was an option.\”

Jeff Davis is currently working on a new television series adaptation of Aeon Flux, rolling the dice once again.


Aeon Flux Director Recalls Studios Lacerating Feedback It Was Great

Aeon Flux director Karyn Kusama is grateful in a way for the harsh feedback she received for the film. Released in 2005, Aeon Flux was a live-action adaptation of the animated series of the same name. It starred Charlize Theron as Aeon Flux, a skilled warrior in a post-apocalyptic future leading a group of rebels in Earth’s last surviving city. The film was a box office bomb and was shredded by the critics, holding a 9% score at Rotten Tomatoes.


Per THRKusama recently reflected on Aeon Flux in a roundtable discussion with some fellow directors. She recalled how she was fired from that project during post-production, only for a Paramount executive to invite her back after saying, “I really hated your version of the movie. But believe it or not, I hate the new version even more.” While Kusama says that remark ranks high with the most backhanded compliments she’s gotten in her career, the director feels that it was also beneficial, as it helped prepare her for what to expect in Hollywood.

MOVIEWEB VIDEO OF THE DAYSCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

“It brings up the elemental tension between what we all do, which is just try to make something that has an emotional narrative and visual stylistic coherence versus the ‘throw something at the wall and see what sticks’ attitude that we’re often dealing with. It was great to get such lacerating feedback so early in my career. It helped me understand what we’re all up against and what we’re all trying to defend and preserve in these careers of ours.”

Kusama also recalled how her follow-up film Jennifer’s Body had gotten some negative reviews upon its release, noting how this had a heavy effect on her career at the time. This forced her to have to fight hard to find her place directing for television. She says that the tide turned when she got involved with the AMC series Halt and Catch Fire.

“I made a big studio sci-fi love story at 60 times the budget and then another studio film called Jennifer’s Body. Both those films were considered failures at the time, and I hadn’t really even considered the concept of how failure, as much as I think it’s a crucial part of the creative process, affects a career or slows a career down. And so it took me several years to actually get work in television. And it was the ability to start working on a small show at AMC called Halt and Catch Fire. I feel like television ended up helping me reframe the joy of making things.”

More recently, Kusama has directed episodes for television shows like Yellowjackets, The Consultantand Dead Ringers. However, she still has had some unfortunate luck with film, as a Dracula adaptation focusing on Mina Harker that she was set to direct was canceled just ahead of its production start last year.

Related: Karyn Kusama’s Mina Harker Movie Gets Canceled Just Weeks Before Filming


Charlize Theron Had a Bad Feeling About Aeon Flux

Charlize Theron also addressed Aeon Flux in an interview last year with THR. She said she was excited to join the project as a fan of the animated series, but she realized during production that it had some major issues. Theron now says she should have pushed for the project to shut down until some big changes could be made, as at the time, she just wanted to push through it and finish the production.

“You fight until the bitter end. With that one, I don’t know if I had the answers for how to [fix it]but I definitely knew we were in trouble. I wasn’t a producer on it, and I didn’t really have the experience to say what I believe Tom Cruise has maybe said for the past 20 years, which is, ‘Shut this sh*t down, get four more writers on it and let’s figure this out.’ Instead, I’m going, ‘Oh God, I’ve just got to get through this day, I have bronchitis, but let’s keep shooting.’ Now I imagine all these male actors going, ‘Shut it down for six months!’ And it’s like, f**k, no one told me that was an option.”

The dice are being rolled again with a new reboot of Aeon Fluxas Jeff Davis is currently working on a new television series adaptation.

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