The trouble with the movie started at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015, when the movie was supposed to premiere. It was pulled after director Mathew Cullen and producer Christopher Hanley couldn't resolve a fight about money, and the stars of the film, including Amber Heard (who plays Nicola Six) and Billy Bob Thornton (who plays writer and narrator Samson Young), refused to promote it at the festival.
Then the lawsuits started piling up: According to a roundup from The Hollywood Reporter, Heard was sued for not doing her duty to promote the movie; she countersued by claiming that the film exploited her with a body double in its racy scenes -- which may have been because her then-husband Johnny Depp got jealous. Hanley, for his part, sued pretty much everyone involved in the movie for "conspiring to undermine" it. Plus, an investor sued last year, claiming that the rights to the screenplay had been wrongfully transferred to "Nicola Six Limited," a company controlled by the film's producer.
But the most outrageous lawsuit may be the one filed by Cullen against Hanley and the film's other producers. It alleges a litany of misdeeds, including nonpayment of actors and crew. The most bizarre allegation, however, is that the producers went around Cullen to create their own version of the film's final cut, which supposedly included, among other things, "incendiary imagery evoking 9/11 jumpers edited against pornography." Obviously, Cullen was not happy about this version of the film.
All of this hardly matters now, though, because the movie is simply very bad. "I've read the reviews," Cullen told THR for their postmortem. "I agree with them." In the aftermath of the TIFF drama and ensuing lawsuits, Cullen somehow wrangled together his own version and got the OK to release it in theaters alongside the official version, in a bid to get his vision out there while probably confusing plenty of people who don't realize they're all seeing different cuts of the movie.
Not that many people are going to see it at all. Like the death of Nicola Six, the failure of London Fields had already been foretold far, far in advance.