There are no superheroes, no toy brands, no gross-out comedy and no spandex in Oliver Stone‘s summer thriller “Savages.” But perhaps that’s what makes it such an interesting prospect, and while we’ll find out how it all plays in just a couple of weeks, a generous red band clip from the film has dropped online to give us another tease.
The story is quite simple: two California weed dealers (Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch) are enjoying life with their shared girlfriend O (Blake Lively) when a Mexican cartel comes knocking on their doors. When they refuse to give up their turf, O is kidnapped by the cartel leader (Salma Hayek) and an escalting chain of events brings them into the path of everybody from crooked DEA agents (John Travolta) and crooked lawyers (Demian Bichir) to enforcers (Benicio Del Toro). This two-minute clip, if anything, highlights the intensity Stone is aiming for with a filmmaking style we really haven’t seen from him since “Natural Born Killers” or “U-Turn.”
In an interesting sidenote, the director reveals that along the way, he had to make some cuts to some character arcs to keep things moving, with one actor getting dropped entirely. “In a movie, you have six characters; you have two hours; you have a through line, and it is pretty intense. It was so intense, in fact, that we ended up cutting characters from the book, like the mother. She was a good character — Uma Thurman played her beautifully — and the scenes were good, but you don’t have time, you know? We have one goal in the movie, and you go out that gate and it’s like a horse race,” Stone told Huffington Post, adding: “She understood, frankly, because the mother never figured in the outcome, really. We cut Spin down too, the Emile Hirsch character. Several other characters were cut. [Co-writer and author] Don Winslow participated in all of these decisions. There may have been some differences, yes, along the way, but he was part of the team. And I think what he understood was the nature of screenwriting and what it does.”
Check it all out below. “Savages” opens on July 6th.