The screenwriter of Justice League has revealed he wanted his name removed from the film after it was “vandalised”.
Chris Terrio has spoken publicly for the first time since the release of the critically panned 2017 movie, which was originally under the helm of director Zack Snyder before being handed over to Joss Whedon due to a family tragedy.
In a lengthy interview with Vanity Fair, Terrio explained that he had “no idea” how much “wholesale dismantling” was going to happen when Whedon took the reins. He did not blame Whedon specifically but instead mentioned studio leaders and “people who are neither filmmakers nor film-friendly”.
When asked about his thoughts after watching the film for the first time, Terrio answered: “I was in LA at the time working on Star Wars [The Rise Of Skywalker]. I was on the west side of Los Angeles working with J.J. [Abrams] at the time, and I drove to the studio and I sat down and watched it a couple of weeks before release. I immediately called my lawyer and said, ‘I want to take my name off the film.’ [The lawyer] then called Warner Bros. and told them that I wanted to do that.”
He went on to explain that he ultimately refrained from doing so to protect the film from delays or scandal. “I shut up and I said nothing publicly. I’ve never said anything about Justice League since then, but the movie doesn’t represent my work,” he said.
Terrio continued: “When those personal touches were removed from the film in the 2017 version, I was silent because I couldn’t really say anything, but of course it hurt. All that remained was a dinosaur skeleton of what had been a great, lumbering beast.
“I went into such depression when the film was taken away and rewritten. But I didn’t even feel entitled to be depressed, because Zack and Debbie [Snyder, his wife and coproducer] were dealing with their family tragedy. Measured against that, losing the film that you wrote seems like nothing at all. But it did hurt. It hurts to think that I cared so much about these characters and worked on nothing else for a very long time.”
He added that he would only hear “occasional reports” about the Justice League reshoots by Whedon. “I didn’t realise how much of the film was going to be changed—or vandalised, in my opinion. It became clear as I spoke to various actors that it was a wholesale dismantling of what had been there before. I did not hear from anyone who said it was a pleasant experience.”
Terrio concluded that the experience has hurt his reputation. “But more importantly, it poisons your soul and your confidence, especially when this other version of the film wasn’t seen.”
New claims shared to The Hollywood Reporter as part of a broader interview with Justice League star Ray Fisher allege that Whedon was “dismissive” of some actors on set including Fisher, Gadot and Jason Momoa when they questioned lines in the film.
According to sources speaking to THR, the “biggest clash” was “when Whedon pushed Gadot to record lines she didn’t like, threatened to harm Gadot’s career and disparaged Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins”.