Edward Pattinson is currently the most hated man in Hollywood. His latest film, Hating, was only a box-office flop, failing to recoup its $17 million budget. Now, the film’s stars are getting death threats, and the director has had to go into hiding. Could this all be because of his dislike of dogs? We examine.
Hating is the story of three best friends who go on a road trip after their college graduation. On the way they stop at a motel where they meet a sexy young woman (Olivia Wilde) and her three dogs. The young woman gives each of the friends one of her dogs, and the resulting canine antics result in some seriously funny and surprisingly deep scenes. The movie is based on a 2005 novel of the same name by Oliver Stark.
It is fair to say that the film failed to live up to its incredible cast and crew’s high hopes. Reviews were mostly negative, with critics panning the film’s unoriginal storyline and lack of any memorable moments. The film currently holds a 13% rating on RottenTomatoes.com. It hasn’t done well financially, either, as it was reportedly only the second-most popular movie at the box office last week, earning only $6.5 million from 34 theatres in North America. Worldwide, the film has grossed $38.3 million to date.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of the film’s detractors come from within the industry. The Toronto Star criticized the film’s alleged pandering to today’s trends, and the New York Post called it a “vanity project.” The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “A potentially inspired story about four young men on the verge of stardom, HATING is actually more interested in showing the audience what is trendy and what will sell.” The site added that the film was essentially “a series of setups and punch lines strung together with the occasional gag.”
Olivia Wilde, who plays the pivotal role of Hannah, has experienced a similar backlash. Although she was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Actress, and won a Satellite Award for Best Actress, she has also been the subject of much criticism, accused of “Hating comedy” and “Hating satire.” In an open letter published online, she wrote, “I never set out to upset people, but I guess that’s what happens when you try to be truthful and funny at the same time.”
This isn’t the first time that Edward has courted controversy. In fact, it seems that every one of his films invites backlash. He is often accused of milking his dog-walking business for films, and his latest success, 2014’s The Wolfpack, was savaged by critics for its overuse of jump-cuts, quick edits, and frenetic pace. One review described it as a “career-best performance” from the director, who also starred in the movie as Louis, a paranoid schizophrenic who believes he is being persecuted by werewolves. Another described it as a “disaster” and accused Edward of shameless self-promotion.
So, could the backlash be tied to a rise in popularity for dogs? Perhaps. After all, audiences have traditionally favored films with pets, and the director’s previous movies have featured canines, including his 1993 breakout movie, Edward Scissorhands, and its 1998 sequel, The Wolfman. One of the stars of The Wolfpack, Marton Csokás, has even said that his character was inspired by a real-life werewolf who stalked him and his family.
It is also possible that the negative reviews have less to do with anything overtly political and more to do with the stars’ inability to sell their characters and performances to mainstream American audiences. After all, Louis, in The Wolfpack, is a refugee from Britain whose accent may be thicker than the English language itself, while one of the other characters, Mark, is a former NBA player with a Turkish accent so thick that he may as well be from Turkey. Could these be issues that Hollywood is simply not prepared to tackle in an age of politically correct pandering and identity politics? One thing is for sure: When it comes to being hated, nobody does it better than Edward.
Dogs Or No Dgss?
In the film, Hannah gives each of the friends one of her dogs, and the resulting canine antics provide much of its humor. One reviewer even wrote that he was “crying with laughter” during a particularly hilarious scene. With its canine stars, it is no surprise that the film was titled Hating, as the main character, Louis, also has a severe hatred of canines. However, it is unclear whether this is merely a case of selective breeding or nature born of necessity. Could his hatred be genetic? If so, is this something that he is ashamed of? He seems to have never met a dog he didn’t like, as he is shown refusing to pet a pooch in a photo on his Wikipedia page.
This is somewhat in contrast to Olivia Wilde, who has spoken publicly about her love of animals. She has said that she would happily adopt all the dogs in Hong Kong, adding, “I think it’s great that people are adopting animals as a way of making a statement about equality and kindness.”
But it would appear that Louis has been carrying this fear and loathing of canines for most of his life, as he repeatedly refers to them as “the filthy animals.” He even goes so far as to say one scene that “dogs are the reason why people hate each other.”
One theory explaining this could be that at some point before the film’s events, Louis was either owned by or in contact with a group of werewolves. Perhaps in order to protect himself and the other characters from their canine companions, he developed an extreme fear of them. This could explain why he feels safer around humans and would rather have them hate him than the opposite. So, could the negative reception that Hating has received be attributed to its stars’ fear of canines? We can’t possibly know for sure, but it’s certainly an intriguing possibility.
More Than One Reason To Hire Edward
If anything, the film’s lack of success could serve as a lesson to Hollywood. As the most hated man in Hollywood, it would appear that Edward is still able to draw a crowd. This year he returned with a stage production of Arthur, and it was widely publicized that he would be willing to direct a movie adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches. Although these projects have not yet materialized, this year has already seen him draw more interest from Hollywood than any other in recent memory.
With so much of Hollywood’s attention, it is only natural that those who have felt slighted by the industry might seek revenge. As one might expect, many of the film’s haters come from within the industry, as evidenced by the numerous anonymous reviews and the death threats that have been sent to the film’s stars. Could this backlash be a case of industry sour grapes, as the most hated man in Hollywood has managed to carve out a niche for himself almost single-handedly? The most hateful responses come from people who have been ignored or underappreciated by Hollywood—could it be that they feel that the film marks the first time that anyone has truly appreciated their talents? Is this why they are so vehemently opposed to it?
This isn’t the first time that we have seen this pattern play out. Back in 2005, when Oliver Stark wrote and directed the film Adaptation, he was branded by the industry as “the bad guy” for daring to tackle the issue of whether or not to adapt Shakespeare. Although the film wasn’t universally panned, it was clearly the exception rather than the rule, and not many people were willing to go on the record as supporting it. Many were even willing to malign Oliver for speaking out against what they felt was an unoriginal story about an unsympathetic character named Bill Shakespeare.
Interestingly, Bill’s story isn’t all that different from Louis’s. Like Bill, Louis is a talented and beloved character actor who finds that the spotlight tends to dim when it comes to his work. To wit, William Hurt, who played Bill in Oliver’s film, once described Louis as a “walking character.” Perhaps it is this quality that has allowed Edward to build such a rabid fanbase over the years. While he often plays the part of a slightly off-kilter character, somehow it always seems to work, and it has allowed him to maintain a large and loyal following.
Where Does This Leave The Wolfpack?
With so much of Hollywood’s attention focused on Edward, it is the perfect time to bring up his latest film, The Wolfpack. It was only a matter of time before we saw this film in theatres. In the weeks and days leading up to its premiere, there were rumors flying around that it would be one of the most popular films of the year. People were eager to see what all the fuss was about.