If you’re not sure what’s going on with Universal/Blumhouse’s upcoming thriller, “The Hunt,” just take a look at the previous articles we’ve written about the controversy surrounding the film to get fully up to speed. Suffice to say, “The Hunt” has been the subject of a political war between the Right and the Left over what the film is actually trying to say. Is it Left Wing propaganda aiming to incite violence against Conservatives? Or is it Right Wing trash about how the Liberal “elite” are going to hunt them down for sport? Well, according to director Craig Zobel, it’s neither. And that’s been the most frustrating part of the whole situation.
Speaking to IndieWire, Zobel went over the long process of watching his latest film get canceled and pulled from the release schedule by Universal only to receive a new date about six months later. And the director believes the issue is that, from the beginning, “The Hunt” is just a misunderstood film that is being judged before anyone actually watches it.
“I felt like it had been colossally misunderstood,” Zobel said about how he felt when “The Hunt” was canceled. “My first instinct to make sure people would see the movie.”
The filmmaker said the origins of the film came from co-writers Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof, who pitched Zobel a film that was a satire about the current political climate and didn’t aim to take any side in the debate. You see, “The Hunt” wants to show that both sides of the argument are the problem.
“When Damon and Nick first called me, they like, ‘Hey, what if we made something that was literally palatable to multiple groups?’” the filmmaker explained. “I said, ‘Yeah, that sounds like the hardest movie to do. Let’s try.’ I didn’t want it to be washed out. There’s a way to make a movie that doesn’t hold any politics in it that everyone can enjoy.”
Now that the film is finally hitting theaters this month, Zobel hopes that people will enjoy the film for what it is, a satire about the current society that isn’t trying to make some grand, genius statement about the state of the world. But he understands that, as the film’s director, he’s going to be the person that has to answer all the questions.
“Prior to all this stuff happening, I would’ve pushed back and said, ‘I just tell stories,’ Zobel said. “Now I can’t deny that this movie is on a continuum of questions. But this isn’t a giant psychological treatise on partisanship. That’s not what we need right now — that would turn people off. What we need is for everybody to calm down, laugh, just have fun.”
“The Hunt” hits theaters on March 13.