Rumors began floating around the web earlier this weekend stating that director Lexi Alexander had been “taken off” of the upcoming film Punisher: War Zone. This rumor came from comments made by producer Gale Ann Hurd at the Comic-Con panel for the film. Hurd said that Lexi was not in attendance for the film’s panel because she was “on her honeymoon.” Many websites took this comment as she was off the project.
Since then we have been burning up the phone lines, trying to get some sort of official or unofficial response to either confirm or deny this. Rumors have been flying around the interwebs for a few months now that Alexander was having problems with the project, and it would only be logical after the overwhelmingly negative response to the first trailer that both Lionsgate and Marvel would want to go in a different direction.
And while we could not get an official statement from the studio, we did get the scoop from a very reliable source close to the production. And according to what we’ve now been told, the film is in trouble, but all is not lost. Here is the rundown of what we now know:
- Lexi Alexander is not officially off the project, but she has been pulled away from it at this point.
- The problems began after Lexi turned in a cut for the first trailer that was not to the studio’s liking. When confronted about it, Lexi’s reaction was “childish” and unpredictably erratic. Apparently she has been making negative comments on her own personal blog about the production, even going as far as to compare working with the studio to an episode of Hell’s Kitchen. Now, when you go to LexiAlexander.com there is just a picture of the “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil monkeys,” her blog entries have been removed. So take that for what it’s worth.
- Currently, producer Gale Ann Hurd is spearheading an effort to get the film re-cut and make it more presentable for its release on December 5.
- Reportedly Hurd has brought in the editing team of The Incredible Hulk (which includes Rick Shaine, Vincent Tabaillon and John Wright).
- While it is clear that Marvel is gung-ho about delivering a quality product to the big screen in December, if the production cannot be salvaged it could lead to a limited release and a bigger DVD release.
Having not seen more than a few clips, it is hard to say exactly what the studio sees wrong with this film. But based on fan reactions and the limited footage available, it doesn’t look like a bad decision for them to move away from Alexander and on to something new. Because as our own Punisher aficionado Robert Fure said in his report from the Comic-Con panel on Friday, while the film appears to be very, very violent it is not yet clear as to whether or not it will hold up as a good Punisher film.
From where I am sitting, I am encouraged to hear that both Lionsgate and Marvel are taking charge of the production, listening to fans and trying to deliver a great film. Of course, we will keep you updated if something official comes along. As well, we have a few more videos from Punisher: War Zone to share with you a little later.
What do you think of Marvel and Lionsgate going away from Lexi Alexander?