Director Matthew Cullen has said that he agrees with the terrible reviews that have come in for his new movie London Fields.
The screen adaptation of Martin Amis’s celebrated 80s novel, which stars Amber Heard and Billy Bob Thornton, currently has a rare 0% rating on reviews aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
It also hit headlines this week after it was revealed to be the second worst ‘wide release’ box office opening of all time, making only $262 (£203) per screen.
The film was shot in 2013, but has been prevented from release until now due to a complex series of lawsuits between the film’s producers, Cullen and Heard.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Cullen said: “I’ve read the reviews. I agree with them.”
Cullen has been in a legal battle over the film’s final cut since the film wrapped, while Heard was sued for $10 million over allegations she breached her performance contract, and disregarded her promotional obligations by refusing to promote the film at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival.
Heard claimed that the film violated the ‘nudity clause’ in her contract, while the producer of the movie, Christopher Hanley and his legal team alleged that Heard’s then-boyfriend Johnny Depp – who has a small role in the film – had become ‘jealous and protective’ over her, leading her to back away from the film’s more explicit scenes.
The actress was eventually given a veto on the film’s nudity, and paid nothing in a deal set up by the film’s administrators, and has since even done some promotion of the movie.
Meanwhile, Cullen added to THR: ‘There’s a reason why they said that Amis’ book was unadaptable’, with directors including David Cronenberg and Michael Winterbottom having previously been attached to adapt it.
In a further twist, Cullen later paid his own money to cut his own version of the film, but this was not the version that the movie’s new producer Peter Hoffman, who had bought the rights to the film while it was in legal limbo, screened to critics, who have since panned it (The Los Angeles Times called it ‘aggressively awful’).
Cullen added that he could have had his name removed from the film, but chose not to.
“Under DGA rules, I could have used a pseudonym, but in that process, I wouldn’t ever be allowed to talk about the film again and I wouldn’t have had the ability to release my version of the film,” he told THR.