Director seeks to distance self from Fox film

Twentieth Century Fox’s “Babylon A.D.” was a negative pickup — and it’s turning out more negative than expected.

After getting some unenthusiastic reviews (including one in Daily Variety on Aug. 21), helmer Mathieu Kassovitz is seeking to distance himself from the film, which opens Friday.

In an interview with AMCtv.com, Kassovitz called the sci-fi thriller “pure violence and stupidity,” with parts of the film resembling “a bad episode of ’24.’ ”

Sources close to the production, who likened Kassovitz to the mercurial Billy Walsh character on “Entourage,” called the AMC comments just the latest in a series of headaches involving Kassovitz.

Production on “Babylon A.D.” was delayed three weeks for personal reasons involving Kassovitz. And Fox, like the overseas distribs, have been annoyed that the director failed to meet many of his press obligations and has instead retreated to a Caribbean island.

Sources say the helmer (and sometime actor who starred in “Amelie”) has fired his reps at Endeavor. The agency didn’t respond to inquiries involving Kassovitz.

Kassovitz, who previously helmed the Halle Berry starrer “Gothika” and French-language breakout “La Haine,” told AMCtv.com that Fox was to blame for the film’s subpar state.

“Fox was sending lawyers who were looking at all the commas and the dots,” Kassovitz said in the interview. “They made everything difficult from A to Z.”

Fox declined comment on the Kassovitz remarks but said it is moving full steam ahead on releasing the film. The studio is optimistic because the pic is tracking well with young men; Fox is expecting an opening akin to that of Universal’s “Death Race,” which picked up $12.6 million in its debut weekend. Fox also noted that the film’s star Vin Diesel is out fully supporting the film.

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