It should have been a standard Q & A session following a typical film screening for the press. But from The Da Vinci Code denouncements by the Vatican to cries that United 93 portrayed events too raw and recent to be recalled on screen, these days it seems like every other movie released contains some controversial element of the religious or 9/11-related variety.
The Omen, opening in theaters across the country tomorrow, managed to stir up ire on both counts. So instead of politely answering how he liked working with Mia Farrow or whether he was nervous about updating a 1970s horror classic, the film’s director, John Moore, faced this line of inquiry:
Audience Member: I have a question ... Are you a New Yorker? John?
John Moore: No, I'm Irish.
Audience Member: Why did you think it is okay, since the events of 9/11, to manipulate the audience's emotions for your horror movie?
John Moore: Well, I didn't manipulate them. The role of response that an individual has is not necessarily up to me. I believe that ... [Audience member attempts to interrupt]
John Moore: Can I answer the question or do you want to come up here and take the microphone? Cause I can see your anger, sir. I can see it from here. Well, let me answer the question you asked me. What happened on 9/11 was a world event. I can understand that it's particularly sensitive to New Yorkers. What happened on 9/11 deeply affected me also. I happened to be in America when it happened. It left a lasting impression on my mind and the impression that I had when it happened was that we were in a very dark time. It seemed as if we were dealing with a very dark series of events and that's why it became part of the movie.
Audience Member: It's a good thing that the movie is such a piece of **** and nobody's going to see it. [Audience Member starts to leave]
John Moore: You know what, you want to come back and actually finish your thought, or are you going to be like most thugs? Make your statement and then leave before anyone has a chance to talk about it?
Audience Member: There's nothing more to be said.
John Moore: Well then, can you expand on why you think the movie is a piece of ****?
Audience Member: You lost me in the very beginning because you used something [the World Trade Center attack] that hurt a lot of people to manipulate our emotions. That's what I think you were doing.
John Moore: All art will manipulate your emotions.
Audience Member: What's that?
John Moore: The point of art is to manipulate and stimulate emotions.
Audience Member: I don't think your movie is art.
Megan Basham is the author of Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman's Guide To Having It All
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