‘The Hunt’ Movie Featuring Sturgill Simpson Won’t Be Released After All
The Hunt, a new movie featuring singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson, will not be released after all. After criticism of the satirical movie mounted following three recent mass shootings, Universal Pictures has pulled the film, which was scheduled for release on Sept. 27.
The Hunt's story, which finds wealthy human hunters pursuing less-privileged human prey, until the hunted gain an upper hand -- mirrors that of the 1994 film Surviving the Game. Betty Gilpin (GLOW, Isn't It Romantic), Hilary Swank, Emma Roberts and Glenn Howerton were all cast in the film along with Simpson, who was to play one of the hunted humans.
"While Universal Pictures had already paused the marketing campaign for The Hunt, after thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film," the studio says in a statement (per the Hollywood Reporter). "We stand by our filmmakers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film."
The Hunt's trailer, which debuted in late July, earned criticism following its release. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Universal pulled previews for the film across the board after ESPN decided to stop airing a spot that it had previously approved following the mass shootings in Gilroy, Calif. (July 28), El Paso, Texas (Aug. 3) and Dayton, Ohio (Aug. 4). Universal had been re-evaluating its marketing and release strategy for the film, the Hollywood Reporter reported on Aug. 6, before completely suspending the campaign and scrapping the movie's release.
"This was a decision that the studio came to with The Hunt filmmaking team, but ultimately it was about making the right decision, right now," a source tells the Hollywood Reporter. "It was a tough call for the company, but studio leadership, led by Donna Langley, all agreed that this film could wait."
Despite The Hunt's cancellation Simpson's fans will still be able to see the artist in a pair of new movies: He plays a rogue police officer in the romantic drama Queen & Slim, due out on Nov. 27, and he also appears as a "guitar zombie" and provides the theme song for the recent theatrical release The Dead Don't Die. In 2018, Simpson played Ken Fry in five episodes of the CBS All Access drama One Dollar.
Even Simpson's next album, Sound & Fury, will have a film component. The record will be accompanied by an anime film, created by writer, director and Kamikaze Douga animation studio founder Jumpei Mizusaki and character designer and Afro Samurai creator Takashi Okazaki. A release date for the project has not yet been announced.
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