(L-R) FIFA President Sepp Blatter, French actor Gerard Depardieu
Los Angeles - AFP
Critics and audiences panned it, and now the man who directed the $30 million FIFA film flop has admitted: "It's a disaster."
"United Passions," directed by Frederic Auburtin, came out in US theaters earlier this month -- just as a massive corruption scandal erupted at football's world governing body.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter -- the hero of the widely criticized movie -- announced his intention to quit soon after the allegations of huge graft emerged.
Auburtin told The Hollywood Reporter that he tried to make a movie somewhere between "a Disney propaganda film and a Costa-Gavras/Michael Moore movie."
But added: "Now I'm seen as bad as the guy who brought AIDS to Africa or the guy who caused the financial crisis. My name is all over (the film) and apparently I am a propaganda guy making films for corrupt people."
The Frenchman said he was interested in making a sequel focusing on FIFA's current dire predicament, but wants to put "United Passions" well behind him.
"I'm a victim of the game. It's a disaster, but that is not the point, I accepted the job," Auburtin said, describing a constant battle between FIFA on the one hand and the film's directors and stars on the other.
"I was not paid to be the Che Guevara of the sports business. Please don't make me the guy responsible for the fact that FIFA is rotten."
The movie recounts the birth of the World Cup and FIFA through three of its presidents. It was presented at the Cannes Film Festival last year, with Blatter -- played in the film by Tim Roth -- walking up the steps of the Film Festival Palace.
US media and cinemagoers dismissed the movie, with a mocking Los Angeles Times commenting it "kicks far wide of its goal."
"United Passions" grossed just $918 in the US during the June 6 weekend, The Hollywood Reporter said.