A couple of weeks ago we heard from Independence Day: Resurgence director Roland Emmerich that he wasn’t a big fan of Marvel Studios and movies about people with capes. Now another leading action director of the ‘90s has spoken out against superhero films: John McTiernan, the helmer of Predator, Die Hard, and The Hunt For Red October.
According to an interview with the French magazine Premiere (the full text of the Google English translation is here), McTiernan thinks today’s action films are “corporate product,” citing Mad Max: Fury Road as one such example, adding “...pfft” for emphasis. He reserves his greatest ire for comic book movies, which he says are made “for businesses” and evince a “fascist” aesthetic and tone:
“Captain America…The cult of American hyper-masculinity is one of the worst things that has happened in the world during the last fifty years. Hundreds of thousands of people died because of this stupid illusion. So how is it possible to watch a movie called Captain America?”
McTiernan was an A-list Hollywood director until the early 2000s, when his winning streak stumbled with a pair of expensive bombs, a Rollerball remake (2002) and Basic (2003). His career suffered an additional setback in the mid-’00s, when he was charged in federal court for perjury after lying to a prosecutor about hiring private investigator Anthony Pellicano to spy on Rollerball producer Charles Roven. McTiernan denied the allegations, but he ended up serving ten months in a white collar federal prison. He currently resides in France.
His last successful film was the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crown Affair, starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo.
McTiernan is planning to make Thin Rain, a mid-budget action film in Serbia about “a childless woman and a child without a mother,” with Cate Blanchett as his dream star. (The movie will feature minimal dialogue to make it easier to sell to foreign audiences.) He still has good words for Lethal Weapon and Matrix producer Joel Silver, “who will always produce real action movies.” Silver’s upcoming projects include Sherlock Holmes 3 and a Logan’s Run remake, plus something called Dark Moon, about a black-ops mission to the moon gone awry. Maybe he could throw McTiernan a lifeline?
This superhero thing can’t last forever, after all — there must be some Michael Crichton adaptations or action vehicles with Sean Connery as the hero’s mentor left to be made. At any rate, Seagal is probably available. (And he has Serbian citizenship!)
Coming up next: Renny Harlin complains about how the new Star Wars movies betray George Lucas’s vision. (Or not. But it’s fun to say!)