Director Talks About Why Elektra Failed

Elektra was a total bomb in almost every meaning of the phrase. Critics hated it, the audience hated it and it’s probably already reserved it’s place on most “Worst Movies of 2005” lists. Considering it forerunner Daredevil enjoyed modest success and Jennifer Garner was to be in even tighter and skimpier outfits this time out (not to mention a very well marketed kiss with another woman)… you’d figure it would have at least done “ok”. Nope.

But hand it to the guy. Rob Bowman, the director of Elektra had the guts to sit down with Now Playing and talk about his failure (say what you want… that takes a man) and offer some idea as to why the film failed so badly. Here’s an excerpt from that article:

“I knew going into the project, because of the short prep, because I only had Jennifer for her hiatus from Alias, which was ten weeks, and [because of] the short postproduction, that we weren’t going to be able to make Spider-Man,” says Bowman. “We didn’t have the time to make Spider-Man. We didn’t have the time to make Daredevil!”

Bowman is refreshingly candid – and good-natured – about the failure of the film, but he also is quick to defend his picture while also maintaining that he is aware of its shortcomings.“That was OK, because I was not making a movie about size and spectacle, about giant visual effects,” he continues. “The best movies are stories about people and their inner struggles – those are my favorite films. I finally said, ‘Let’s not get down about the fact that we don’t have the time to make Batman or Spider-Man. Let’s embrace what we do have, which is a very interesting character.’

Bowman goes on to talk about how surprised he was critics disliked the film since they usually cheer for a film that gets made with a relatively low budget (Elektra only had a $43 million budget… which is REALLY low for a comic movie).

My question is… why did they have to make it so fast? Why not wait until Garner had more than just 2 and a half months to shoot? Can you imagine that? A comic action film where you only have the lead character for 10 weeks of shooting? What was the rush? Were they afraid Garner was suddenly not going to be popular anymore in 12 months? To me that’s just crazy… and stupid.

In the end, Bowman seems to have a pretty healthy way of looking at it all. He goes on to say:

“The critics don’t care – they don’t care if you’re tired, they don’t care about anything except judging the movie,” he says. “It’s not like I didn’t try. It’s not like I didn’t use every trick in the book I had to pull that movie off in that short amount of time. And if you can’t handle people not liking what you do, you shouldn’t be in the business. That’s part of it, because telling a story on film is subjective, and not everybody is going to laugh at the jokes you laughed at. Your favorite movie may not be many other people’s favorite movie. And that’s the risk in making a product with a mass appeal – how do you figure out what all those people want? Don’t even try. Everybody likes ice cream, but not everybody likes chocolate ice cream.”

Good words. I’ll be interested to see what he ends up doing next… cause it sure won’t be Elektra 2.

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19 thoughts on “Director Talks About Why Elektra Failed

  1. This is the genius whose major previous accomplishments were the shining gems of theatrical boredom “X-Files: Fight the Future” and “Reign of Fire”. The evidence is strong that Elektra sucked, Mr. Bowman, because you’re just not that good a director.

    A good movie would change my mind. Complaining about why the previous ones were bad won’t.

  2. It’s pretty basic – it sucked because it was bad.

    I mean, really.

    Let’s not over anaylyze a bad movie. Elektra just didn’t have a good story, had silly action scenes, and the acting was horrible.

    But yeah, there are other reasons, like the movie just SUCKS.

  3. Don’t get me wrong, I love super-hero movies (well, most of them) my aside about Greek mythology was purely centered on characters such as Pandora, Achilles, Narcissus, and yes, Elektra, who have become bywords for human frailty and the deeper textures of the human condition. I simply do not see any of this in comic book characters, and think it unlikely the academics of the future will ponder the virtue of these tales either. A modern equivalent of the ancient mythologies would be the wild west and the westerns based on these times by the likes of Ford, Sturges, Peckinpah and Leone. Sorry, I’m getting off track here.

  4. This movie sucked because the script sucked.

    I was a huge Daredevil and Electra fan, espiecially during the Frank Miller Days. Frank Miller’s Electra Graphic Novel with the most incedible illustrations by Bill Sienkiewicz should have been the source material for the story we saw up on that screen instead of the cliched crap we saw.

  5. Whatchoo talking? Batman was character driven, Road to Perdition was character driven, Spidey 1 and 2 were character driven– the list goes on. To say comics are only available for crash-bang-boom is crazy. They are the modern equivalent of Greek mythology. It’s how they’re played out by the guy at the helm that dictates crap or not.

  6. If you’re looking for good stories, suggest you look elsewhere. The world of the super-hero saga exists within very narrow parameters, if you can attach some philosophy to it you’re not only a better man than me, but just about all the script writers working in this field today. The truth is, working to such a brief allows for little story telling other than the usual crash bang wallop, good over bad. Greek mythology it ain’t.

  7. To hear interviews like this reaffirm my inclination that Hollywood people are totally unconnected from reality and need to get outside their “Yes-Man” bubble. Man, that Rob didn’t take responsibility for crap. He made weak excuses for a POS movie.

    Aeon Flux looks like a pile of stanky, steamy “more of the same” too.

    All these ladies look great in their superhero outfits, but man- I don’t give hang about that. I care about being entertained with a story, not being knocked over the head with seductive poses, stupid, incoherent action and rehashed characters.

  8. I have to say Aeon Flux does look interesting. But we all know that looks be deceiving. And like I said, even if it is good that is by no means a guarantee that it will sell tickets.

  9. I agree with the earlier poster who said that the actress didn’t look like she could kick ass. A common mistake this one by film makers. Catwoman was crap, terrible casting. Batgirl (in Batman and Robin) was crap, terrible casting. The Supergirl movie was awful too. However, Aeon Flux looks as if it might be great, the reason, Charlize Theron looks F*****g dangerous in skintight black. She is also a tall girl, made to look even taller in her specially built up shoes (6’2, I read somewhere)so straight away she looks intimidating (and thus sexy!). Elektra could have been good, but when filmakers continue to make the mistake of thinking people only want to see stick insects in these films, they will continue to fall into this trap.

  10. Hey Darren,

    Yeah, i agree with you… Elektra failed on a lot of levels. But the things Bowman talked about all certainly didn’t help matters.

    Maybe if they had more time he could have changed mre? Mabye the absurdity of certain things would have sunk in and he may have had the time to make changes… I don’t know.

    But yeah you’re right… you can’t just say “It only sucked because of this”.


  11. This failed for one simple reason. And don’t take this as a sexist remark, far from it. Cause I looove the ladies. But this failed because it was a movie about a female superhero. Nevermind that the movie sucked on every level. NObody would have gone to see it even if it was good except for a handful of fanboys. Name me a successful movie centered around a female superhero. What’s that? Catwoman you say? There have been plenty of cool movies with a female superhero in a supporting role, but honestly I think few people are interested in seeing a movie that is all about one. Don’t believe me? Just wait until Wonder Woman comes out and a month later you will all be asking the same question. “What happened?? Why didn’t this work??”

  12. Um… maybe it failed because she doesn’t really LOOK like she could actually kick anyone’s ass in Real Life?

    Hollywood is fully of metrosexual idiots. They wouldn’t know “Tough” if it actually DID come up and kick them in the ass.

  13. Rob Bowman needs a reality check. ‘Elektra’ didn’t fail because a lack of budget and/or special effects. It didn’t fail because Jennifer Garner could only work in a certain time window. It failed because…

    “And I thought they would appreciate that it wasn’t about explosions and action, that it was a story about a character learning about compassion”- Rob Bowman

    Keep in mind at the time of Elektra’s release, most people, including critics, had not seen the original cut of Daredevil, now known as the director’s cut. What audiences and critics were familiar with was the Daredevil theatrical cut, and since Elektra is a spinoff character from that movie, the character already had compassion, and the character wasn’t stone cold. In addition:

    * If time and budget were the issue, then instead of defeated Hand assassins going up in a green vapor, they’d just be knocked down given a ten count. Not to mention that by the end of the film, the Hand bosses are still in the little house on the hill.

    *The bad dialog.

    *The annoying brat. You know who I mean.

    *Setting up Gojan Visnic as the romantic love intrest when he isn’t. What about his TV work on ER? They would have to work around that too. Gojan’s a good actor, but if they had a troubling time working around Garner, why would they cast another TV actor beside her?

    * The film goes into fantasy and takes on a mystical aspect. That’s fine, except that didn’t happen in ‘Daredevil’. Elektra the film also implies The Hand was responsible for her mother’s death, not Kingpin, who would later kill her father. Or was Fisk working with The Hand, hiring them out as assassins?

    *About Elektra’s father. In flashbacks he is seen as demanding and borderline abusive. This takes away from what we know about him in the Daredevil film. Even in the Director’s cut of ‘Daredevil’.

    * The villians, specifically Typhoid Mary, are underused and underdeveloped.

    …finally, there’s one more thing.

    Jennifer Garner is good looking and has a nice smile. She also is the most overrated and overexposed actress that has graced both TV screens and big screens in the last five years.

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