Interview courtesy of joblo.com, here.
In Deception, Ewan McGregor plays Jonathan, an accountant disconnected from life, who is reinvigorated by his new friend Wyatt (Hugh Jackman), a powerful and charismatic lawyer who introduces Jonathan to a mysterious sex club known as The List. Shortly after meeting the woman of his dreams (Michelle Williams), Jonathan becomes the number one suspect in not only the woman’s disappearance and possible murder but also a 20 million dollar theft.
This sexual thriller, also produced by Hugh Jackman, has had a very troubled past. Currently on its third name (originally The Tourist, then The List), with constant changes in budget, producers, actor availability and script, it’s an achievement in itself that it’s even getting a theatrical release at this stage. It has received relatively little promotion from its distributors Fox though, with a piss poor poster working against it too.
It is refreshing, then, to read such an honest interview with the film’s director, Marcel Langenegger. He clearly struggled with the entire production, and the recent death of Heath Ledger meant that Michelle Williams had to cancel a lot of planned publicity. The guy stuck with it though, even finding time to get married during a very short prep period!
It’s never usually a good sign when a film isn’t shown to critics in advance of its release, and reading between the lines of Langenegger’s comments (which are quite frank already), we get the feeling that this film really may not be all it might have been. For example, his description of their filming of the ending sounds very messy:
…the hard thing was to shoot the last act. Because that act wasn’t written because when the movie was at Fox it had a Fox ending, like really typical kind of Fox ending with two guys on top of a rooftop of a skyscraper fighting each other. The cops come and the building is burning and one guy hangs from the tie of the accountant. Hugh Jackman wanted to change it, I wanted to change it, and then we had kind of an idea of a double identity switch and then, that wasn’t written. The writer who… the writers agent who was on it to write it, not the original writer, he wanted so much money that we couldn’t afford [him]. In the end we had nobody writing this ending. But we had to shoot Hugh Jackman’s role so we kind of had to shoot him from behind so we could add a voice in there if we want, so it was just very difficult.
So, which ending was used? Was one even written? Did they just shoot random bits of footage and hope for the best in the editing room? It sounds like a total nightmare and, being honest, the type of thing that makes for a weak film. It’ll take all of this Correct Opinion writer’s love for The Jackman to accept the faults!
There were some last minute critic screenings yesterday though, and some initial blog reviews, while not exactly gushing with praise, still found good things to say and seemed to highlight some implausibilities in the plot as the main negatives.
Good, bad or indifferent, it seems that the film may well slip past most people’s radar. Which is a pity, as the cast is quality and the concept intriguing, even if the execution is flawed. It’s clear from Langenegger’s remarks, though, that while Jackman is Fox’s golden boy, they’re more interested in his upcoming Australia and still-filming Wolverine than this picture.
It’s possible that we feel the same.