Guillermo Del Toro Wants a Theatrical Release for William Friedkin’s Final Film Out of ‘Respect’

Guillermo del Toro is determined to have late director William Friedkin’s final film reach theaters.

Friedkin’s “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial,” which del Toro served as an assistant director on, premiered at the Venice Film Festival and is set to debut on streaming platform Paramount+ later this year, as well as screen on Showtime.

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“I know it’s not the ‘model’ for a streamer but this is Friedkin’s final film. Can we get a theatrical run?” del Toro tweeted. “No matter if it is a limited one. Just respect for a master.”

Friedkin died at age 87 in August 2023. The Oscar-winning “Exorcist” and “French Connection” director adapted Hermon Wouk’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play for “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial” as his last film. Kiefer Sutherland stars as a Lt. Commander who stands trial for mutiny after taking over a ship from its captain who was acting mentally unstable and endangering his crew. Robert Altman previously directed a 1988 TV movie adaptation, and Edward Dmytryk helmed a 1954 film starring Humphrey Bogart based on the same play.

“The Caine Mutiny Court Martial” producer Annabelle Dunne said while at the Venice Film Festival (via Deadline) that Friedkin contractually needed a back-up director in order for the film to be financed. “That’s very common, Hollywood is ageist; in Hollywood it’s sometimes hard to pass the insurance,” Dunne said. “So I gingerly say, ‘Billy, we need to do this. Is there anyone maybe someone younger maybe somebody that you mentored that you want to fill in just on the paperwork?'”

Friedkin later called Dunne to say, “OK, honey I have the guy. Get a pen: it’s Guillermo del Toro, you got that?”

Del Toro later told Dunne that he was “going to come to set every single day and sit next to you” during the production. “Graciously [del Toro] said not only yes but despite just having put out ‘Pinocchio,’ he went to set every day to sit next to Billy,” Dunne said. “He said he was our mascot.”

She continued, “It was joy for all of us, including the actors, to have his presence there. He made it abundantly clear it was Billy’s movie.”

Dunne further recalled that Friedkin “was a one-take director, if there were more than two, there was a problem.”

“The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial” premieres on Paramount+ with Showtime in the U.S. on Friday, October 6, before its linear Showtime debut on Sunday, October 8, at 9 p.m.

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