Jury service stops John Carpenter attending own premiere at Toronto film festival

Director misses opening of his film 'The Ward'

John Carpenter has been forced to miss the world premiere of his first movie in nine years because he’s obliged to participate in jury service in Los Angeles.

The horror director’s film The Ward made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday (September 13). The cast, which includes Amber Heard, Danielle Panabaker, Lyndsy Fonseca and Mika Boorem, were there, as were the film’s producers and financiers.

However, Carpenter had apparently put off jury duty for as long as is legally permitted and so was told to report to court. The filmmaker’s camp and producers of The Ward tried to make a deal, but to no avail.

Carpenter prepared a video introduction for the premiere screening in case he couldn’t make it. He addressed the jury duty issue, saying if the audience were watching the tape, it meant he was unable to get out of it.

“I’m disappointed I can’t be there tonight,” he explained, sitting in what appeared to be a hotel room. He then showed flashes of humour:
“If you see my cast members after the screening, please give them money. If you see [the producers], please give them all your illegal substances.”