Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World currently sits at No. 4 on the all-time box-office chart — a triumph that helped him nab the coveted gig as Star Wars: Episode IX director. Thus, expectations were high for his film in between those two blockbuster-sized projects, the smaller-scaled thriller The Book of Henry. Any such hopes, however, were quickly dashed by almost universally brutal reviews (it stands at 23% on Rotten Tomatoes), epitomized by The Los Angeles Times’ Justin Chang deeming it “grotesquely phony and manipulative” — and causing some to wonder if it will cost him his Star Wars job. As one might expect, such a critical drubbing didn’t go unnoticed by the filmmaker himself, and in a new interview, he’s finally spoken out about the toll that negative reaction has taken on him.
Speaking with Empire Podcast, Trevorrow admitted that he was caught off-guard by the response — and, in particular, its intensity, dubbing it “a little heartbreaking”:
“It came to us as a bit of a shock. We did not anticipate that level of vitriolic dislike for the film. In the end, do I want to be somebody who pleases both audiences and critics? Absolutely. Is that hugely disappointing? It is.”
Trevorrow nonetheless made sure to state that he still believes in the film — “I would at least ask anybody: please go see the movie” — while also wondering if perhaps his newly acquired Hollywood reputation was partly to blame for the disappointment many critics felt about the film.
“I do stand by the movie. I know it’s something I’m very proud of, and everyone who made it is very proud…What I may have underestimated is how my visibility as somebody who is responsible for two things that we all care about deeply, and are massive parts of our public consciousness and shared mythology — how that level of visibility would shine a spotlight that I hadn’t considered.”
To read (and hear) more of Trevorrow’s thoughts on The Book of Henry’s crash-and-burn critical reception, head over to Empire. You can see the film in theaters now.
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