New featurettes for Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer, plus details on the film's cuts
Bong Joon-Ho's first American debut, SNOWPIERCER, is coming at us like a freight train (on ice!) and is expected to debut sometime this year. Today, we have two brief featurettes for the film, featuring stars Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton, which showcase their individual characters in the film. Sadly, there's been a bit of a snag in terms of distribution in the U.S., which comes down to Harvey Weinstein initializing the director to cut at least 20 minutes out of the film in order to "make it more accessible to American audiences." The film has already premiered in South Korea to rave reviews, but apparently that's not enough for Western audiences.
TWC people have told Bong that their aim is to make sure the film will be understood by audiences in Iowa ... and Oklahoma," said Tony Rayns English writer and film festival programmer. Leaving aside the issue of what Weinstein thinks of its audience, it seems to say the least anomalous that the rest of the English-speaking world has to be dragged down to the presumed level of American mid-west hicks.
Pretty heated words from Rayns, but the sentiment has been echoed from many in regards to the cuts, which are substantial. According to Rayns, Bong is being asked to eliminate a lot of character detail, making it more of an action film, as well as adding voice over to the opening and closing of the film. Many will recall the same snafu happened to Ridley Scott's BLADERUNNER, where Harrison Ford's voice over was added after the film was completed in order to make the film "easier" to understand for the "common folk."
I'm really excited to see SNOWPIERCER, but torn about seeing a heavily modified version that's not approved by the director. Sure, studios step in and make changes and "suggestions" here and there for many films, but this feels like a complete repackaging of what Bong Joon-ho had in mind to begin with. It's not uncommon for directors making their English-language debut to butt heads with studios (there's a reason John Woo doesn't make American films anymore) and this seems to be another case of that. Hopefully, Weinstein and Joon-ho find a middle ground. Otherwise, I think many will be waiting for a "director's cut" blu-ray.
SNOWPIERCER is expected to hit theaters sometime in 2013, in one form or another.
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|Extra Tidbit:||The recutting of Bladerunner has caused many people to have one too many copies of the film in their library. Hopefully, this won't be the case with Snowpiercer.|