Zack Snyder recently joined Letterboxd for an interview about “Sucker Punch,” his hugely divisive 2011 fantasy action movie that was a box office bomb for Warner Bros. with just $89 million grossed worldwide. The film, which was notable at the time for being Snyder’s first original concept, stars Emily Browning as Babydoll, a young woman committed to a mental institution whose fantastical imagination creates a dream heist for her to escape imprisonment. Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens, Jamie Chung, Carla Gugino and Oscar Isaac co-starred.
“It was a very polarizing film,” Snyder said. “To be frank, the people I’ve run across who’ve come to me and said ‘”Sucker Punch” is my favorite movie’ are normally angsty teenage girls. It’s like a Morrissey song or something.”
Snyder revealed he still hopes to release a director’s cut for the movie in the future, saying, “You’ll get to see it at some point, I’m sure. I hope.”
“I’ve never gotten around to doing the director’s cut. I still plan to at some point,” he said. “But in the original ending when Babydoll is in the chair in the basement with Blue — she’s already been lobotomized — when the cop shines the light on her, the set breaks apart and she stands up and she sings a song on stage.”
“She sings, ‘Ooh, Child, things are gonna get easier,’” Snyder continued. “Blondie, and all the people that have been killed, join in and it’s the idea that in a weird way, even though she’s lobotomized, she’s kind of stuck in this infinite loop of euphoric victory. It’s weirdly not optimistic and optimistic at the same time. That’s kind of what the tone was at the end. We tested it and the studio thought it was too weird, so we changed it.”
“Sucker Punch” was widely criticized for exploiting its female characters. Variety panned the film as “a crass women’s penitentiary picture” in its review, adding that it was “misleadingly positioned as female empowerment despite clearly having been hatched as fantasy fodder for 13-year-old guys.”
“I feel like the main criticism of the film was that it was too exploitative,” Snyder said. “People took the movie as if the girls fighting and all that stuff was the movie. I found that slightly disheartening.”
Snyder argued the film was “so genre self-aware” and revealed that certain scenes were cut that made it more overt that the film’s tone was a “self-aware, self-reflexive audience observing the movie.”
“It’s talking directly to them about what they wanna see. They wanna see the girls, they don’t wanna see the girls empowered. They wanna see them in sexy outfits. That was the whole thing to me; I always thought it was interesting when people would review the movie and say it’s exploitative. It’s like an anti-war movie that gets the war too good.”
“Sucker Punch” is celebrating its 20th anniversary by screening at New York City’s IFC Center this weekend.
- Zack Snyder Says ‘Sucker Punch’ Being Called ‘Exploitative’ Was ‘Disheartening,’ Hopes for Director’s Cut After Studio Axed ‘Too Weird’ Ending
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