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Fox Reportedly Cut 20 Minutes From Park Chan-Wook's 'Stoker' & Bong Joon-Ho Talks Next Projects

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by Kevin Jagernauth
June 20, 2014 5:41 PM
11 Comments
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Stoker Behind-The-Scenes

As we noted in our feature 5 Great & 5 Disappointing English-Language Debuts By Foreign-Language Directors, when filmmakers from abroad come to Hollywood, the results can be a mixed bag. And that is sometimes down to the vastly different way things work in the industry stateside. "The main difference I noticed was, was how short the pre-production and production was in the United States, whereas the post was much longer in Korea," "Stoker" director Park Chan-wook told us in 2013. "If you would ask me what my ideal process is, I would say, long pre-production, long production and long post-production." And while his American debut made it to cinemas without much drama (except from critics who were split on the pic), it would seem behind the scenes there were a few more problems.

In a profile of Park's South Korean colleague Bong Joon-ho, the Financial Times reveals "Fox cut 20 minutes" from "Stoker." The running time for the film, 99 minutes, was the same at the Sundance premiere as it was in the theatres, so the snips were made before it unspooled, but as Bong explains, the situation was different from his battle with The Weinstein Companyin which he was ultimately victorious—in some key ways.

“All three of us [directors] know each other very well,” he says, also referring to Kim Jee-woon, who helmed the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle "The Last Stand." “And when we talk about our experiences on these films...we’re like, ‘Oh, I had it the worst.’ But they did have a worse time than me, I think. Because 'Snowpiercer' is a Korean film, but with Hollywood actors. I had almost 100 per cent creative control. My own final cut."

“Of course, something happened after the pick-up by The Weinstein Company but now it’s all OK. I worked it out," he added. "But in the case of Park Chan-wook and Kim Jee-woon, they were dealing with companies like Fox and Lionsgate. The Hollywood studio has very strong power, and they were making their first English-language movies.”

However, the first time overseas for all three did not end well, with "Stoker" and "The Last Stand" failing critically and commercially, while Bong Joon-ho, even with final cut, had to wrestle to see his vision through, with the compromise of a limited release. So perhaps it's not a shock that his next effort will be back in his native tongue. And he's kicking around a couple of ideas. “I’m fascinated by two ideas, both Korean-language. One is a 'Snowpiercer'-sized movie with VFX [visual effects]—you could call it an adventure film. The other is a very unique and strange, ensemble cast story that’s hard to explain.”

Um, we'll sign up for both, please. But let us know if you want 20 more minutes of "Stoker," and check out "Snowpiercer" when it opens on June 27th.

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11 Comments

  • Brandon | July 2, 2014 12:25 PMReply

    "Stoker" was easily my favorite film of 2013 - it's incredible filmmaking and rewards repeated viewings. I would love to see the extra 20 minutes that were cut, but I have to say I think the film plays beautifully at it's released running time. In the past I sometimes have felt PCK's films have run a little long ("Thirst"), but I want to see those extra scenes. Check out Mark Kermode's BBC video review of "Stoker" on You Tube - insightful and hilarious.

  • Peter Nellhaus | July 2, 2014 7:48 AMReply

    Dear Fox Searchlight: Please issue the "Director's Cut" Blu-ray of STOKER. FYI, this was was one of my favorite films from last year. Yours truly . . .

  • Bill G | June 22, 2014 11:16 AMReply

    I really enjoyed Stoker and thought it was critically well received. 68% on Rotten Tomatoes isn't that bad. Definitely would like to see 20 minutes more.

  • Arthur Fink | June 22, 2014 6:28 AMReply

    If Matthew Goode's character had turned out to be a vampire in a Let Me In meets Lolita-style twist (as the trailer suggested) I would have been happy. But the 'twist reveal' we all saw coming a mile away is what ruined the film.

  • MACCA | June 21, 2014 8:33 AMReply

    No idea that Stoker split opinion so much. It was my favourite film of 2013 (followed by ShortTerm12, Place Beyond The Pines, Warm Bodies, The Great Beauty... and IronMan3)

  • Emperor Zerg Rush | June 20, 2014 11:39 PMReply

    Must've been the 20 good minutes of it. Direction was fine but that story/screenplay was derivative and utterly silly.

  • pat | June 20, 2014 6:18 PMReply

    I would LOVE 20 minutes more of Stoker. I could be very wrong, but I think time will be kind to Stoker. I thought it was pretty fantastic. It could also look horrible in 10-15 years. In any case, I'd love to see something that was a better approximation of Park's vision

  • Mason | June 21, 2014 11:43 PM

    Visually, the film was amazing- the set design, cinematography, mise en scene. The clunky storytelling and dialogue was a nightmare, though. And a lot of that seemed to run in to the acting, with some very stilted scenes here and there, from typically good actors.

    I tend to think it was a language barrier thing. There were awkwardly expository conversations that left me with the impression Park wasn't sure he had allowed plot points to be revealed properly, so the characters clumsily and bluntly explained them. The naturalism in scenes with the school bullies were obviously from the perspective of someone who knew the American high school experience only from exported movies and TV. And there were just other scenes, such as the one were Kidman seduces Goode, that sounds like it came through Google translate.

  • Film Runner | June 20, 2014 6:53 PM

    I found Stoker to be a film permanently on the edge of being great but which never quite shifted into gear, but I reckon the remaining 20 minutes could fix that. If there's a director's cut coming I'll buy it in a heartbeat.

  • James | June 20, 2014 6:27 PM

    Oh, and I forgot to say hysterically over-sexualized. The shower masturbation scene had me literally cracking up laughing.

  • James | June 20, 2014 6:26 PM

    I dunno, I went in wanting to like Stoker, but found it to be a campy, silly, one-dimensional remake of Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt".

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