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Bong Joon-Ho Remains Diplomatic On 'Snowpiercer' Edits, Says Weinsteins Have Been "Pretty Soft" On Changes

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist August 29, 2013 at 10:04AM

“Tracks” has been a long time coming. Ever since Robyn Davidson wrote her 1979 memoir of her 1700-mile, eight-month trek across the Australian outback from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean, and the book became an award-winning best-seller around the world, Hollywood has been sniffing around it. Multiple attempts to mount an adaptation have been made—Julia Roberts was attached to a version for much of the 1990s—but it finally took the producers of “The King’s Speech” and the oft-undervalued New York-born, Australian-based director John Curran (“We Don’t Live Here Anymore,” “The Painted Veil”) to get it made, with the film finally premiering at the Venice Film Festival today. And for many, it’ll have been worth the wait: it’s a very handsome film with a terrific central performance, even if it’s not quite an unqualified triumph.

Fanboys can be a curious bunch, both highly protective and critical of things they haven't seen. We've already witnessed the embarrassing reaction to the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman in "Superman Vs. Batman," while earlier this month, there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth about rumored deep cuts being made to Bong Joon-Ho's "Snowpiercer." Even though that report was mostly based on hearsay, a flurry of reaction ensued, particularly given early rave reviews for the movie, and the fact that it has become a runaway hit in South Korea. Well, maybe people should just chill out a bit?

Indeed, the director himself has finally been asked about the cuts being made, and he's fairly diplomatic about the process. "I came [to Denmark, where the film premieres this week] after editing for the American version. I’ve never produced a new version for overseas premieres, and this is the first time I’m making a new version," he told MSN. "Weinstein is actually being pretty soft toward editing, probably because it’s noticed how critics have praised the film and know how angry movie fans get over new edits. They even asked me which parts I want to include in the film."

So, in summary? It looks like it's as collaborative a process as you can ask for in this situation, and let's again remember, international edits aren't always for the worst. Wong Kar-Wai's "The Grandmaster" arrived on U.S. shores, ten minutes shorter than it's international cut (where are the fanboy tears about that?) and as the director told us himself, he had no issue with that. "I didn't want to do it just by cutting the film shorter or do a shorter version by trimming and cutting out scenes because the structure of the original version is actually very precise...I just wanted to tell the story in a different way," he said. "So now the American version is 108 minutes, and we have 15 minutes of new scenes, and the story is more linear. So instead of a shorter version, to me it's a new version."

Perhaps this is an opportunity for Bong Joon-Ho to turn lemons into some lemonade or find a slightly different way to tell this story? Anyway, we'll wait until we see the thing before coming down one way or the other. Now what about that release date, Weinstein Company? [via Bleeding Cool]

This article is related to: Bong Joon-Ho, Snowpiercer

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