“The Hunt” Director Breaks Silence After Movie’s Cancellation

Craig Zobel says his goal was to "poke at both sides of the aisle equally"

Still from "The Hunt"
A scene from "The Hunt"
By Bonnie Stiernberg / August 19, 2019 1:09 pm

Director Craig Zobel has broken his silence after the release of his controversial thriller The Hunt was canceled on Aug. 10th in the wake of mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso. Zobel told Variety that he feels the movie is being misrepresented and hopes it will one day see the light of day.

Zobel said the goal of the film, in which a group of “liberal elites” hunt working-class conservatives for sport, was to satirize both sides of the political spectrum. “Our ambition was to poke at both sides of the aisle equally,” he explained. “We seek to entertain and unify, not enrage and divide. It is up to the viewers to decide what their takeaway will be.”

“I wanted to make a fun, action thriller that satirized this moment in our culture — where we jump to assume we know someone’s beliefs because of which ‘team’ we think they’re on … and then start shouting at them,” he added. “This rush to judgment is one of the most relevant problems of our time.”

Zobel also told the publication that he understood Universal’s decision to postpone The Hunt‘s release after recent mass shootings. “I was devastated by going to sleep to El Paso and waking up to Dayton,” he said. “These types of moments happen far too often. In the wake of these horrific events, we immediately considered what it meant for the timing of our film. Once inaccurate assumptions about the content and intent of the movie began to take hold, I supported the decision to move the film off its release date.”

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