Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life Director Details How the Experience Made Him Stop Directing

Thanks to action films like Speed and Twister, director Jan de Bont was a major force in filmmaking back in the '90s, though his directing efforts concluded in 2003 with Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, which he recently explained was due to interference from studios over the endeavor. De Bont noted that, not only did his decisions with the film have to go through the studio and executives, but that figures from the video game world would also weigh in on what they thought would be best for a character, ultimately leading him to leave the studio system behind for decades.

"It was not such a great experience. But more from the reason how the studio tried to really interfere with it in a way. And the thing itself is that the makers of the game were also involved. And they never told me that they, also, have a say in the story," de Bont shared with Uproxx. "Suddenly there were all these changes that have taken, and who had to be what, and what cast. And then suddenly it became such a big scene. Everything was a big deal. And then the very first day of shooting, it was in Greece, on the Island. The very first day, we got a call, 'Oh, I want to congratulate you on your first day. And by the way, you have to cut $12 million out of your budget.' The very first day! And in those days, $12 million, that’s like four scenes."

Few pop culture figures were as big in the '90s as Lara Croft, with her debut big-screen outing starring Angelina Jolie also being a major crossover event. Having previously delivered audiences original concepts and narratives, clearly de Bont wasn't interested in having to answer to a number of executives with his directing efforts.

"Basically, you say, 'Wait a second, every movie’s going to be like this? Where the studio has a say in what will be done, what scenes have to be in, and even what kind of shirts somebody has to wear at one point?'" de Bont pointed out. "They didn’t like the buttons on one shirt! I still remember, I got a call, 'I didn’t like the buttons on the shirt.' I don’t even remember. What was the guy’s name? The male lead in that movie? Man, I forgot his name. But then, 'Wait a second. You’re calling me because you don’t like the buttons on the shirt?' That was so absurd. Really. And then also having to really constantly deal with budget issues."

He continued, "There were films that I wanted to work on, and, unfortunately, they also did not get made. None of them got made. I said, 'Wait a second, is this too much work? This is too difficult.' Because I felt this wasn’t a traditional period, where studios were taking a much bigger part in the making of the movie. And it became… that’s not worth it. You know?"

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