Neil Marshall, who has directed episodes of Westworld and Game of Thrones but is probably still best known for his terrific 2005 horror flick, The Descent, is also involved in maybe the messiest relationship in all of Hollywood. In 2018, Marshall—directing Hellboy with David Harbour that would subsequently bomb at the box office—got involved with a woman named Charlotte Kirk.
Marshall only met Kirk — who was then 25, and nearly half of Marshall’s age — because one of the financiers of the film, 72-year-old Avi Lerner, tried to force the producer of Hellboy to cast her in order to silence her. Kirk had affairs with Ron Meyer, the then 76-year-old former NBCUniversal vice chairman, and with former Warner Bros. chairman Kevin Tsujihara, then 55 years old. Both men used their power to help Kirk land mostly small roles in forgotten films during the aughts (another boyfriend of Kirk would also cast her as Nicole Simpson in the unreleased Nicole & O.J.).
While Marshall was shooting Hellboy, these affairs came to light because of leaked texts and legal documents, and both Meyer and Tsujihara — two of the most powerful executives in Hollywood — were forced out of their jobs because of their affairs with Kirk and their shady dealings as a result. Billionaire James Packer and producer Brett Ratner were also implicated in the scandals. (Ironically, Meyer confessed the affair to his boss, NBCUniversal CEO, Jeff Shell, who was ousted last month for sexual harassment.
However, Marshall—who was ultimately not allowed to cast Kirk in Hellboy because the producer was unimpressed with her acting, even though he was offered $2 million to do so — fell madly in love with Kirk. Marshall had reportedly had some HR issues of his own before he met Kirk — he had reportedly been dismissed as director of the Lost in Space series on Netflix for asking out multiple women. Moreover, before the scandal broke in 2018, Neil Marshall threatened to take his name off of Hellboy unless Avi Lerner gave him $2 million on behalf of Meyer so that he could make a movie with Charlotte Kirk (neither the threat nor the $2 million materialized).
After Hellboy, Neil Marshall — later dropped by his agency after the scandal broke — vowed to devote himself entirely to making movies with Charlotte Kirk. He has followed through on that vow. Marshall directed and co-wrote 2020’s The Reckoning with Kirk, who also starred in the film. Likewise, The Lair in 2020. The two films had a 20 percent and 33 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively (granted, both fared better with critics than Hellboy, which fetched 17 percent on RT).
These are not successful films. Both films earned all of $150,000 at the box office, and yet, someone continues to finance Marshall and Kirk’s films. They have two more movies together in the pipeline. One is The Duchess, which is being shopped by Palisades Park Pictures along with That’s Amore, which stars John Travolta and Katherine Heigl (who play a couple in the film). They also have another movie called Compulsion in the works.
This is what has become of Neil Marshall, director of cult favorite The Descent and an Emmy winner for an episode of Game of Thrones. Now he’s exclusively making bad movies with a woman he fell in love with after a financier attempted to cast her in his movie to keep her quiet about her past affairs with several powerful men. The trades continue to cover these films, too, because Hollywood insiders will click because we’re all curious about the car crash that has become of Marshall’s career.