Duncan Jones looks at his experience directing 2016’s Warcraft as an important learning lesson, even though he’s still calling the situation a “political minefield” two years later.
Jones is currently promoting his new Netflix movie, Mute, and spoke to SyFy about his career as a filmmaker. He talked briefly about Warcraft, a movie that did incredibly well overseas at the box office but was met with less enthusiasm from critics. The director said he attempted to make the film he wanted to make, but became the victim of multiple rewrites that, he believes, coincided with Legendary Pictures going through a tumultuous time.
“I think a lot of the rewriting in that, over the course of making the movie was really, really difficult and at times disheartening,” Jones said. “Just being forced to make changes and compromises just due to the politics and the nature of that film. So, that was a real heart-wrencher ... at the time, that felt pretty traumatic.”
Jones said it came down to “studio politics.” Legendary was sold to Universal by Warner Bros., but eventually moved again over to Universal. The studio was sold again to Wanda, one of the biggest Chinese conglomerates with a hefty influence over Hollywood films, especially blockbusters like Warcraft. Ownership changes wrought devastation on the producing staff and partners, who shifted around multiple times over the course of filming.
It was a mess on the production side, and Jones was still talking to Blizzard constantly about how the film was shaping up throughout the entire ordeal.
“We were also working with Blizzard, who understandably were very careful about what happened with the movie because their bread and butter was the game Warcraft, which was bringing in a billion dollars a year for them,” Jones said. So, whatever we did with the movie was likely to be small potatoes compared to how important the game was for them.
“So it was really a very active political landscape.”
It wasn’t all negative, though. Jones said he looks at Warcraft as a necessary and important learning experience in how to deal with studios and their politics. The movie also hasn’t stunted Jones’ career. The director has a lot on his plate, including his newest movie, Mute, which is currently playing on Netflix.