James Gray Didn’t Want Brad Pitt’s ‘Stupid Voice-Over’ in ‘Ad Astra’ Final Cut

Gray lamented that Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox resulted in his film being “screwed up” by executives.

2019’s Ad Astra earned James Gray some of the strongest reviews of his career, proving that the filmmaker’s voice was just as applicable in space as it was in New York City and the Amazon rainforest.

But that doesn’t mean that Gray is completely thrilled with the finished product. In a new interview with Vulture, the Armageddon Time director said he believes studio interference was preventing the film from realizing its true potential.

“It was kind of a perfect storm,” Gray said. “The making was so screwed up for reasons unrelated to the film. New Regency made the film and they tried to get it through Fox and we spoke to Fox people and then Fox was sold to Disney and it basically collapsed. That was a proud studio at Twentieth Century Fox, and it’s gone. And then you have the Disney group, and that’s a whole different MO. So it was a total mess at the corporate level. Also, in a film that’s very personal, sometimes people see themselves in it and argue that other things are better. I didn’t have a definitive cut, so I couldn’t say, ‘I don’t like it. It’s just the way it is.'”

Gray isn’t dismissive of the film as a whole and continues to hope that people can appreciate the parts of the film that he has maintained control over.

“Now I was very upset about it because as a writer and director, I felt like my point of view should win,” he said. “And when people start coming up to you and say, ‘Why did you do all those stupid voiceovers?’ and you didn’t, it’s a very frustrating experience. But it’s not like I want people to hate the film. My take on this is – by the way, I’m not saying it’s that good – you hope that it’s your own Blade Runner where there are things in it that you clearly love and there are other things that go into the film that are not you. There’s a lot about the film that I’m very proud of. But up until then I was very fortunate to be in control of the films and when the film stopped being 100% mine I became like a stubborn little kid.”

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