Paul Schrader, the Taxi Driver screenwriter and director of last year’s Lindsey Lohan un-comeback The Canyons, has lost his battle to release his version of Dying of the Light. A trailer for the action thriller—which stars Nicolas Cage as a CIA veteran who’s diagnosed with dementia but remains determined to hunt down the terrorist he thought he’d killed years ago—debuted on Wednesday, and it’s officially slated for release on Dec. 5.
The trailer proudly advertises itself as a Paul Schrader film, but he claims that the producers took the film away from him during the editing process. Despite being contractually prevented from disparaging the finished result, he, Cage, co-star Anton Yelchin, and executive producer Nicolas Winding Refn have joined in what appears to be a silent protest. On Facebook, Schrader posted photos of the quartet wearing t-shirts that reflect his stance:
“We lost the battle. Dying of the Light, a film I wrote and directed, was taken away from me, re-dited, scored, and mixed without my input. Yesterday Grindstone (a division of Lionsgate) released the poster and the trailer. They are available online. Here we are, Nick Cage, Anton Yelchin, Nic Refn and myself, wearing our ‘non-disparagement’ T shirts. The non-disparagement clause in an artist’s contract gives the owners of the film the right to sue the artist should the owner deem anything the artist has said about the film to be ‘derogatory.’ I have no comment on the film or others connected with the picture.”
The producers did not immediately respond to EW‘s request for comment. Lionsgate, which is releasing the film, declined to comment. In September, producer Gary Hirsch told Variety, “We made suggestions, which Paul to a large extent didn’t approve of, and so he refused to make the changes that we all wanted, despite the fact that the changes we were looking for were very much in line with the script that he wrote and shot.”
According to Hisch and his partners, the film that will be released is 80 percent the same as what Schrader envisioned. Refn told Variety that the producers’ handling of the creative disagreement was an act of “creative disrespect.”