Back in early August we hit you with the news that the Weinstein Company wanted to make cuts to Bong Joon-ho's eagerly anticipated post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller SNOWPIERCER, with word coming down that when the critically acclaimed film finally hits theaters here in North America we will see a cut down version of the directors vision, with 20 minutes excised from the original cut. It was later reported that the director stated that the Weinstein's were being 'pretty soft' towards the cuts, but then trouble seemed to be brewing once again just last month when Bong attended the South Korean Busan Film Festival with sources close to the director sharing that he was 'furious' with the cuts. Now we're hearing a little bit more about the cuts as well as when we should be able to finally see SNOWPIERCER hit theaters.
Bong and Harvey Weinstein were out celebrating SNOWPIERCER star Tilda Swinton's 53rd birthday at the Museum of Modern Art's Film Benefit last week and Vulture was there to find out what was going on with the film, asking "What does Harvey want cut out of the film? What does he want added? And why?". Bong responded...
"It's a matter of tempo. They think of the movie as a R-rated movie, so it's not a matter of violence, some carnage or something. It's just a matter of duration and tempo and speed. There's no set number of required minutes to be cut, or anything like that. We're just playing with it, and they let us choose."
In addition to cutting some scenes, Weinstein wants the film to have a voice-over at the end of the film. In the original script, voice-over narration from one child character kicks off the film, and a voice-over narration from a separate child provides the ending. Bong explains...
"Originally, in the very first script, an Asian girl was the beginning part. And the very last part of the movie was a black boy. But during the production, I deleted it, because I didn't think it was necessary. That was before Harvey saw the movie. That was before Harvey picked up this movie."
Bong still feels that the narration is unnecessary, and says that the "very good reaction" to his cut helps bolster this. Also, he noted, when Weinstein tested a cut-down rough version in July in New Jersey, they did another test screening, with the director's cut, and the score for his own cut "was much higher." Says Bong...
"I understand their situation, their point of view. They want to make it easier for the audience to understand the ending. But at the same time, I love a little bit more ambiguity."
Negotiations are continuing, Bong said, and he's confident that with the reviews, the box office support, and the test screening results, "the U.S. [release] is going to play out smoothly."
"Many things happen in six months, and maybe ten years from now, I will write a book about this situation, this very funny situation. But for now, I feel safe. Quite safe."
I wonder if his answers would've been different if Weinstein wasn't within earshot of the questioning. But hey...we'll take him at his word, for now.
And what sayeth the villain in the movie, Tilda Swinton?
"They know, they know, that America and everywhere in the world deserves that director's cut."
Yes we do!
For now, no U.S. release date has been set, although sometime in 2014 is "a safe bet," according to a Weinstein rep.