With cast members Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton, along with screenwriter Kelly Masterson (in addition to the rest of the internet) airing their concerns about a potentially edited version of Bong Joon-ho‘s “Snowpiercer” getting a U.S. release (as well as in a strong handful of international territories), the filmmaker has yet to address his battle with Harvey Weinstein over the edit of his movie. Until now. The folks over at Twitch have managed a chat with the filmmaker, who opens up about what kind of changes he’s being asked to make, and how things have played out so far.
The first thing to note is that even before reports dropped in August that the Weinsteins were seeking a shorter cut of the movie, the studio and filmmaker had already tested the director’s cut versus a shorter version a month earlier. “Officially the negotiation is still going on, and I’m trying my best to keep my own version and also the CJ people [the Korean investors/distributors] are trying to confirm the release date, the marketing plan and many other things they are still negotiating and the funny thing is once there did exist a 20-minute cut-out version, a Weinstein version of ‘Snowpiercer,’ they had a screening of that version in New Jersey in July,” he explained. “Then CJ did another test screening of my original version in LA with a normal American audience, and with my version the response was much higher than the scores from the Weinstein version.”
So even with test audiences seemingly siding with the Bong Joon-ho cut, what is it exactly that Harvey is still insistent on fixing? “They want a more speedy tempo,” Bong Joon-Ho said, adding that despite some speculation, it’s actually not any violent material they’re concerned about.”They think of ‘Snowpiercer’ as an R-rated movie, so the violence and those kinds of matters are not a big issue. But it’s all a matter of duration, speed and tempo.”
There is still more to play out between Bong Joon-ho and the studio, and it’s an odd situation for the filmmaker who after four films being released internationally the way he intended, is now facing pushback for the first time. Though he insists he’s willing to compromise. “So we already have one fixed American version with 20 minutes cut out but that’s not the final version, we are still going through the process,” he told Twitch, adding: “I’m not that kind of young, innocent film school student who is saying ‘Nobody can touch my movie!!’ I’m not like that, I can negotiate, but I really hope to protect and keep my vision. The unique tone and mood of the movie and I don’t want to destroy the details of the characters. So it’s still going on.”
Can an agreeable solution between both parties be reached? We shall see, but it seems more and more that the movie Bong Joon-ho has delivered is just fine as it is. And be sure to read our review of the director’s cut of “Snowpiercer” right here.