When Oliver Stone dropped “Alexander” amid much fanfare in the fall of 2004, it was a critical and commercial flop. The picture earned a tepid $34 million domestically (it cost $150 million), was savaged in the reviews, and wound up earning six Razzie nominations. Overseas, it fared a bit better, and it seemed to find an audience on home video, and Warner Bros. gave Stone permission to tinker. And Lord, did he ever tinker.
In 2005, we got the Director’s Cut, which actually ran 167 minutes, shorter than the 175-minute theatrical cut. Two years later, he went in the opposite direction, and delivered “Alexander Revisited: The Final Unrated Cut,” which ran a whopping three and a half hours. At the time, he declared in a press release: “This film represents my complete and last version, as it will contain all the essential footage we shot. I don’t know how many filmmakers have managed to make three versions of the same film, but I have been fortunate to have the opportunity because of the success of video and DVD sales in the world, and I felt if I didn’t do it now, with the energy and memory I still have for the subject, it would never quite be the same again.” Famous last words….
Collider caught up with the director as his latest “Savages” gets ready to hit home video, and thanks to all of you who made ‘The Final Unrated Cut’ a bestseller, Warner Bros. is going back into the well and Stone will re-re-recut the movie for the fourth time. “I’m going to go back next year actually. I’ve been asked by Warner Brothers because they did so well with ‘The Final Cut’. They actually sold more than a million copies. They’ve asked me to go back next year and do a fourth version,” he said.
Why does Stone keep needing to reshape this movie? He admits he has no idea what he’s doing, basically. “On ‘Alexander,’ I released a shorter version [in theaters] because of Warner Brothers issues. And I [was] also rushed. [When] I released the director’s cut – it wasn’t called a ‘director’s cut’. It was called ‘The Final Cut’ because [earlier] there was a rushed director’s cut that I was responsible for. My third version three years later in 2007 was called ‘A Final Cut’ and I actually added forty some odd minutes – which I think makes the film better. [I didn’t go back] for money. I just did it because I didn’t feel I had finished the movie, and I felt like I was rushed… It took three years [for me] to fully understand [‘Alexander’].”
So uh, yeah. Anyway, what can we expect from this one? “Frankly, it’s a movie about history and I just feel like I can add something more. I wouldn’t do it otherwise… I don’t need more footage. I want to cut it down now because I added too much. I want it to come back a little bit. There’s some trimming [needed],” he said.
So adding footage made “the film better,” but taking it away will be closer to his final vision or whatever for this movie. We can’t remember the last time a terrible movie was this hashed over by a studio or filmmaker, but it seems people enjoy double dipping on this title for whatever reason. No word yet on a release date, but if you long to see Colin Farrell go blonde again, 2013 awaits.