‘The Woman in the Window’ Loses Composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Published on December 27, 2019

The Woman in the Window is having a little trouble. Based on A.J. Finn’s bestselling novel, the unconventional thriller, directed by Joe Wright was originally a 20th Century Fox project. Once Disney inherited the film and test screenings left audiences confused and frustrated, the studio asked for re-shoots and changes to get a more commercial, Disney-friendly product to sell to moviegoers.

One of the most frustrating changes the film has undergone? Losing a score from Academy Award winners, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, the duo behind Nine Inch Nails, How to Destroy Angels, and scores for Watchmen and The Social Network

The Woman in the Window Problem 

Wright, who previously directed Hanna and The Darkest Hour, set out to make a more unconventional thriller with stars Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, and Gary Goldman. His vision wasn’t a Disney movie, that’s for certain. The adult drama was scheduled to come out this year for awards consideration.

After poor reactions from viewers at test screenings, Disney postponed the movie to May, 2020. Keep in mind, plenty of classic movies have tested poorly in test screenings, so low scores aren’t always a real indication of quality.

For example, Goodfellas had record low test screening numbers for Warner Bros. They’ll literally allow people drunk or high into those screenings and let them give their two cents. 

A Score Scrapped 

Reznor and Ross were two of the many high-profile names involved in The Woman in the Window, but their score will forever go unheard. Reznor confirmed to Revolver he bowed out of the project. After all of the changes, the duo decided to respectfully exit the project.

There’s no animosity on our end,” he said. “It’s frustrating when you did that much work and it’s gone. And we were proud — and they were proud — of the movie that it was.”

The Bird Box Experience Was Worse 
Source: YouTube

The Woman in the Window is not the first time the musician has had a less-than-ideal experience on a movie, including the Netflix movie everybody wouldn’t shut up about, Bird Box:

When we got immersed in it, it felt like some people were phoning it in. And you’re stuck with a film editor who had real bad taste. That’s kind of our barricade to getting stuff in the film. And the final icing on the shit cake was we were on tour when they mixed it. And they mixed the music so low, you couldn’t hear it anyway. So it was like, that was… That was a fucking waste of time. Then we thought, no one’s going to see this fucking movie. And, of course, it’s the hugest movie ever in Netflix.

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen?

The composers aren’t the only artists not completely happy about their experience on the movie. The great Tracy Letts (Ford v Ferrari), a brilliant playwright and actor, wrote the adaptation for Fox and, as he told The Playlist, it wasn’t an ideal situation:

It kind of sucked. I read the book and I thought, oh this will make a good movie, I can do this job. And then I got into the weeds of it. I was like, oh shit, this is hard. And I was also working with a lot of producers, a director and they had a lot of notes and it was hard.

Letts believe the original version of the movie was what the filmmakers intended:

I felt we made the movie we set out to make, so I’m a little confused by that. But it’s a thriller and people have certain expectations about the way a thriller works… I haven’t seen the redone version and we’ll see what it looks like. You always try to choose those things carefully because it is going to take a lot of time out of your life. So you want to choose those projects very carefully, but there’s only so much you can do to safeguard against intangibles, things you don’t know are coming down down the road.

Movies have survived rough productions and come out better for it. Look no further than Apocalypse Now, one of the greatest movies of all time with one of the worst productions of all time. The list of examples go on and on, but then again, there’s also no shortage of movies that suffered from notes, reshoots, and retooling from the powers that be. 

The Woman in the Window opens in theaters May 15, 2020. 

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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