London Fields: The Secret Director’s Cut + Q&A12A

London Fields: The Secret Director’s Cut + Q&A

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  • Wed 11 Dec
  • 165 minutes
  • Director: Mathew Cullen
  • Writer: Martin Amis
  • Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Amber Heard, Jim Sturgess, Theo James, Jason Isaacs, Cara Delevingne
  • UK/USA (2013/2019)


The Rio Cinema is proud to welcome director Mathew Cullen and actor Jim Sturgess, who will be introducing a very special screening, plus director's Q&A with Empire Magazine Editor Chris Hewitt

London Fields is based on Martin Amis’ much-celebrated novel of the same name. Considered by many to be an unfilmable, mind-meddling masterwork along the lines of Naked Lunch or Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, the adaptation went through various permutations in preproduction for over a decade. Eventually, it entered production in 2013 with acclaimed commercial and music video director Mathew Cullen at the helm for his feature debut.

What happened in the five years between London Fields’ production and its unveiling has only been detailed in an article published by The Hollywood Reporter and in a podcast of The Director’s Cut. In short, two different groups within the film’s thirty-eight credited producers completed two different edits of the film behind Cullen’s back while Cullen used his personal finances to complete his own cut. Through some complicated legal loopholes, different producers’ cuts have been released internationally and both the final producers’ cut and Cullen’s cut were released domestically—though Cullen’s only had one confirmed theater screen it.

Cullen’s cut has since been buried and seen by few. Until now!

As one reviewer said, having seen both versions,

"The director’s cut of London Fields is a very good, at times even great, movie that intelligently realizes the potential squandered in the producers’ theatrical cut. While both cuts essentially tell the same story, their execution is so wholly different that it’s hard to believe Cullen and the producers ever found the common ground needed to begin production in the first place."


London Fields is set in London in 1999 against a backdrop of environmental, social and moral degradation, and the looming threat of world instability and nuclear war (referred to as "The Crisis"). The novel opens with Samson explaining how grateful he is to have found this story, already formed, already happening, waiting to be written down.

This is the story of a murder. It hasn't happened yet. But it will. (It had better.) I know the murderer, I know the murderee. I know the time, I know the place. I know the motive (her motive) and I know the means. I know who will be the foil, the fool, the poor foal, also utterly destroyed. I couldn't stop them, I don't think, even if I wanted to. The girl will die. It's what she always wanted. You can't stop people, once they start. You can't stop people, once they start creating.

What a gift. This page is briefly stained by my tears of gratitude. Novelists don't usually have it so good, do they, when something real happens (something unified, dramatic, and pretty saleable), and they just write it down?[3]