The production of this movie put the ‘Die Hard’ director in jail

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  • John McTiernan’s film, rollerFailed due to a controversial production process.

  • Disputes with producer, Charles Roven led McTiernan to commit wiretapping and perjury.

  • After a slump in McTiernan’s career roller Outlines the consequences of working against the system.

The term, “movie prison”, refers to the notion that a filmmaker hits it so hard that, in essence, they are locked up by the studio, where they must either give up all creative control in order to make the film. , or will not have to be made. That is, of course, until the bad taste of his last film overrules the cultural ideology. Many filmmakers in the history of Hollywood movies have spent time in movie prison, but what if the movie was so bad that the director went to federal prison?

this movie roller, 2002 remake 1975 film of the same name. John McTiernanBehind the action movie legend die Hard, CruelAnd the hunt for Red OctoberStarted work on what was strangely its second remake Norman Jewison film. McTiernan first created thomas crown caseBased on the 1968 film starring Jewison steve mcqueen And Faye DunawayBefore turning his sights to the dystopian sports film that Jewison produced james cain,

roller Follows a team composed of chris klein, ll cool jAnd Rebecca Romijn Playing a futuristic sport that’s a lot like roller derby, except with motorcycles and spiked boxing gloves. This brutal game is thrilling, fast-paced and a global sensation. Unfortunately, the film is none of these things. roller The release met with poor box office performance and an even worse critical response, and while McTiernan made another film in 2003, it resulted in roller The production resulted in a lengthy legal battle that severed many of McTiernan’s Hollywood relationships and ultimately resulted in a one-year prison sentence. No, he was not accused of making a bad film, but of its twisted story roller The outcome of the criminal conviction remains the most interesting part of this film’s legacy.


The hottest thing in 2005 is a violent game that can have some serious consequences… like dying.

release date

8 February 2002


98 minutes


William Harrison, Larry Ferguson, John Pogue


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The problems with this remake started early in production. Rumors were spread (which were later supported by controversial former film critic, Harry Knowles,’ Direct Report) that the remake’s original script expanded on the thematic ideas of the original film, while still having a fair balance of action and good character moments. The script was reportedly thrown out by McTiernan, who wanted to cut the dystopian social commentary and make it a simpler, more straightforward action film. Original roller It follows a star player’s exploitation and abuse by the all-powerful corporate owners of the team, who exercise control over the game to such an extent that players will be killed if they go against business interests. The film is solid, but not particularly novel or in-depth in terms of commentary in the way it handles this narrative, so there’s definitely scope to expand it into something a little more socio-politically urgent. Was. The essence of many great works of science-fiction is that they act as mirrors through which aspects of contemporary life are reflected in exciting, visionary new settings.

This was not a priority for McTiernan, who instead chose to focus on a more goofy approach. rollerFrom McTiernan’s vision, it would be a sexy, violent, sexy thriller. Initial test screenings of their cut – with a revised screenplay that didn’t include everything people were talking about in the original version – went over badly. This put the studio on high alert trying to figure out how they would save the film. MGM was called for control On top of the film, it was reshot in PG-13, most of the violence and nudity was removed, and the entire ending was reshot. Some of their responses included questionable sayings, such as the film being “too Asian” or the musical score being “too Arabic”, an unfortunate sign of the casual xenophobia that would result in changes that would otherwise feel completely arbitrary. happen, a theme that applies throughout the entire history of Hollywood.

so, roller From an apparently excellent script, to a useless director’s cut, to an incomprehensible and extremely unentertaining studio cut that finally saw the light of day in 2002 and almost made money. $25 million worldwide On a budget of $70 million. The film was a painstaking effort to make and had disastrous results, but one of the most interesting aspects of the film’s production arose from the conflict between McTiernan and the producer, Charles Rowen,

How did John McTiernan’s feud with ‘Rollerball’ producer land him in jail?

During the back-and-forth over what kind of movie roller As this was going to happen, McTiernan became convinced that Rowen was attempting to damage his vision. turned to McTiernan Anthony PellicanoAn infamous Hollywood “fixer” who created more problems than he fixed (and was arrested at one point An FBI raid following a wiretap on Rowen found numerous guns and explosives in his office. According to the Court’s final opinion, McTiernan expected that he would Search for dirt on RowenParticularly his speaking negatively about studio executives.

According to the court opinion, after Rowen learned of the scheme and hired an attorney to investigate, McTiernan repeatedly misled or lied to authorities during various investigations, depositions, and hearings. The repeated behavior shaped McTiernan into someone the court considered unwilling to take the case seriously, and after numerous appeals and extensions over a seven-year period, the director was sentenced to a stint in federal prison. Sentenced to one year’s imprisonment. McTiernan served most of his sentence in a facility before being placed under house arrest for the final month.


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The real impact of John McTiernan’s prison sentence

A group of participants skating around the field in John McTiernan's Rollerball

Image via Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

While McTiernan’s prison stay was not very long, the entire situation – which lasted nearly a decade and portrayed him as a particularly difficult person to work with – seems to have had a considerable impact on his reputation in Hollywood. Is. McTiernan has not made a film since basic In 2003, and he Filed for bankruptcy in 2014, immediately after his sentence ended. Despite planning a comeback, it seems he doesn’t have much interest in directing again. What was once a stellar career in the 1980s with stellar performances in films turned into criminal intrigue and obscurity. Roven may be getting the last laugh, as he recently accepted the Academy Award for Best Picture for his work as a producer christopher nolan‘S oppenheimer,

McTiernan had an unfortunate fall from grace, having been involved with a lawless man at Pellicano, whose life would obviously make an incredibly bizarre story if it were ever adapted to film. roller The production remains an interesting tale of the unruly conflicts that arise from filmmaking, and it’s a lesson in why it’s never a good idea to jinx yourself. However, McTiernan can rest easy knowing that his legacy as a top-tier action filmmaker lives on on the strength of his earlier works.

roller Available to stream on Tubi in the US

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