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‘Woman in the Window’ Director Joe Wright Says the Version Released Was Not the Film He Made

“It was a long, protracted, frustrating experience,” the filmmaker told Vulture

Filmmaker Joe Wright is finally getting candid about what happened to his thriller “The Woman in the Window,” and he admits the version of the film that was released was not the movie he originally made.

The 20th Century Studios film started off well enough – Wright signed on to direct an adaptation of a buzzy book about an agoraphobic alcoholic woman who thinks she witnesses a crime across the street. Tracy Letts came aboard to write the screenplay, Amy Adams signed on to star, and production began in 2018 with an ensemble that included Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Anthony Mackie.

But after Disney acquired Fox (and following troubling test screenings), the release of “The Woman in the Window” was delayed so the film could go back for rewrites and reshoots. Disney eventually sold the film to Netflix, where it debuted in May 2021 to a middling critical response.

“It was a long, protracted, frustrating experience. The film that was finally released was not the film that I originally made,” Wright told Vulture in a recent interview. “It got watered down a lot. It was a lot more brutal in my original conception. Both aesthetically, with really f–king hard cuts and really violent music — Trent Reznor did an incredible score for it that was abrasive and hardcore — and in its depiction of Anna, Amy Adams’s character, who was far messier and kind of despicable in a lot of ways.”

Reznor and Atticus Ross’ original score was tossed in favor of a new score by Danny Elfman, and the film was re-edited after reshoots. The “Pride and Prejudice” and “Hanna” filmmaker said in his version, Adams’ character – the one who thinks she witnessed a crime – was softened in the new edit.

“Unfortunately, audiences like women to be nice in their movies,” Wright said. “They don’t want to see them get messy and ugly and dark and drunk and taking pills. It’s fine for men to be like that, but not for women. So the whole thing was watered down to be something that it wasn’t.”

In the version that was ultimately released, Adams’ character gets something of a redemption arc and a tragic backstory before she turns into an unlikely hero in the third act.

Wright admitted the original editing style of the film was intentionally anxiety-inducing, describing the film’s cinematic style as “brutal” and “brutalist.”

Amy Adams and Joe Wright on the set of “The Woman in the Window” (Netflix)

But when asked whether his cut might see the light of day, Wright was doubtful. “I think it would cost a lot money to do, because you’d have to reedit the whole thing, regrade it, remix it. But it would be fun,” the filmmaker acknowledged. “I’d love to do it. There’s a great scene where she had sex with the bloke downstairs and stuff like that. It was very different. I’m not going to delude myself. It could just be that it was a film that didn’t work and that’s okay, too. We have a right as artists to fail. We have to keep pushing ourselves. You’ve got to come in with a fairly decent batting average, but if you don’t make the occasional film that doesn’t work, then you’re not f–king trying hard enough.”

Wright – who also directed Gary Oldman to an Oscar in “Darkest Hour” – most recently released the musical “Cyrano” starring Peter Dinklage and is attached to direct an adaptation of the John Williams novel “Stoner” that will star Casey Affleck.

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