Martin Scorsese has pretty much done it all in his career—tackling a wide variety of genres, delving into no small range of subject matter for documentaries and lending his name as a producer to projects for film and television. But did we nearly get his own “Kill Bill“? In the run-up to this week’s release of “The Wolf Of Wall Street” (read our review), there was much talk about the editing process, the race to meet the deadline and the initial 4-hour cut of the movie. While Scorsese eventually got the movie down to a minute under three hours, it seems there was some thought about dropping that longer cut.
Scorsese’s longtime collaborator, famed editor Thelma Schoonmaker recently sat down for an interview with HitFix to talk about working on ‘Wolf.’ And when it was suggested that a “Kill Bill” style two-part approach could have been used to release the 4-hour version, Schoonmaker reveals the idea was tossed around. Here’s an excerpt from that conversation:
I can’t imagine anyone wanted to [release a four-hour movie].
But people loved the four-hour cut.
I guess maybe you could have done something like “Kill Bill.” Volume one and volume two.
Well, we thought about it. We did. But the film doesn’t work split in half. It has to have a certain arc. We did think about it, believe me, because people loved the four-hour version.
I heard second-hand from people who had seen that version early on that they had no idea what you could cut.
That was a thing, too. People kept saying, “Oh, well, yeah it is too long but I couldn’t tell you what to cut.” So that kept happening over and over again, but fortunately, as I say — it would’ve been horrible if we had it cut out whole scenes.
So, how did they finally the movie down to manageable size? Very carefully. Schoonmaker told the site: “Instead of cutting out scenes, which would have been really devastating, we just shaved things down and did three or four screenings and kept going and kept going and finally we got there. And I would never have believed we would have done it. So it was fortunate because it would’ve been disastrous if we hadn’t. I mean you can’t distribute a four-hour movie.”
And Scorsese and his star Leonardo DiCaprio echo that approach in their long talk recently on “Charlie Rose” about making the movie, and as you might expect, it’s a fascinating conversation. Meanwhile, the film’s co-star Jonah Hill also dropped by the talk show which you can see in the second video (during the final 20 minutes).
Would you want to see a 4-hour “The Wolf Of Wall Street”? Or is 3 hours of cocaine, sex, drugs and debauchery enough? Certainly for actress Hope Holiday—who featured in “The Apartment” and “Irma La Douce”—Scorsese’s film went beyond good taste. “[L]ast night was torture at the Academy — ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’ – three hours of torture – same disgusting crap over and over again – after the film they had a discussion which a lot of us did not stay for – the elevator doors opened and Leonardo D. Martin S. and a few others got out then a screen writer ran over to them and started screaming – shame on you – disgusting – ” she wrote on Facebook following an Academy screening, though she wouldn’t identify the writer in question to The Wrap.
Basically, you might want to keep your grandma away from this one. And if you’re wondering about Oscar prospects for the movie, this is probably fairly indicative that the very hard-R movie won’t play for older voters.
“The Wolf Of Wall Street” opens on Christmas Day.