Almost a year on from the release of The Woman In The Window, director Joe Wright says the finished product wasn’t the film he made. 

The Netflix-released psychological thriller The Woman In The Window isn’t one of last year’s most fondly remembered films. It was repeatedly delayed because of the pandemic, bad test screening scores, and a backlog of Fox films caused by Disney’s purchase of the studio. The movie was the last to be produced by the Fox 2000 label, and when it finally was released the reviews were pretty abysmal. Now, director Joe Wright has spoken about the film and the huge amount of interference he encountered when making it.

In an interview with Vulture, he said “it was a long, protracted, frustrating experience. The film that was finally released was not the film that I originally made. It was like, ‘Oh, f–king hell’. You live and you learn. It got watered down. It got watered down a lot.”

“It was a lot more brutal in my original conception. Both aesthetically, with really f–king hard cuts and really violent music – Trent Reznor did an incredible score for it that was abrasive and hard-core – and in its depiction of Anna, Amy Adams’ character, who was far messier and kind of despicable in a lot of ways. Unfortunately, audiences like women to be nice in their movies. They don’t want to see them get messy and ugly and dark and drunk and taking pills. It’s fine for men to be like that, but not for women. So the whole thing was watered down to be something that it wasn’t.”

The changes made to The Woman In The Window were partially down to a test screening in late 2019. Let’s just say the audience didn’t react particularly well to Wright’s cut of the film. Thankfully, he’s also spoken about what that original version was like.

“The cuts were really hard. I always think about that Gaspar Noe film, I Stand Alone, where there’s like a gunshot on every single cut, so you were dreading him cutting at all, and it left you a complete nervous wreck. There was something of that in The Woman in the Window’s cinematic style. It was brutal. It was brutalist. And would you believe it? They didn’t like it! I always think that people are going to get what I do, and that of course it’s worth spending X amount of millions of dollars on a sort of formal experiment in f–king anxiety”.

“When people go, ‘Hmmm, that’s not really what we …,’ I get surprised. I think that sort of thing is fine if you’re working with a Gaspar Noe budget. If you’re working with a Hollywood budget, it’s probably not such a clever idea.”

The Fox 2000 label was discontinued after Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, and it’s a shame that the release of its last film was so poorly handled.

The Woman In The Window is available to stream on Netflix.

Dark Horizons

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