Jean-Pierre Jeunet has not been shy about airing his grievances at Harvey Weinstein about the handling of his latest film, “The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet.” Earlier this year, Jeunet said Harv wanted to reedit his film, even though the filmmaker had final cut on ‘Spivet.’ And it seems that eventually Weinstein just gave up on the movie altogether, carelessly dumping it into theaters last month, with the trailer dropping literally the day before it was set open, with no press screenings or other advertising being done to promote the picture. Chatting with Sydney’s Buzz, Jeunet once again took the producer/distributor to task for his handling of ‘Spivet,’ and he has a pretty good idea why the movie was shuffled into cinemas in such a poor manner.
“…they have a contract with Netflix. The contract says that you have to release the film in 100 theaters, no more and no less. This is the only reason they released the film, to keep that contract and keep a good relationship with Netflix. It’s also probably because Harvey Weinstein is still pissed off because I refused to reedit my film,” Jeunet said. “‘T.S. Spivet’ is a fake American movie because it’s a movie produced in Europe and Canada, so I have the final cut. I always choose this specifically to avoid this kind of problem, but with Mr. Weinstein you never avoid this kind of problem, of course [Laughs].”
“You know, we had exactly the same story with ‘Delicatessen,’ a long time a go,” he continued. “With ‘Amelie‘ he wanted me to reedit it, but because it was a success he decided to release the film in the same version as Europe. He wanted Caro and me to reedit ‘Delicatessen’ but we said, ‘OK. We have another idea for a modification, you cut our names out of the credits,’ so they never cut ‘Delicatessen’ either. However, ‘Delicatessen’ only became a success on video because it had a very bad theatrical release. But this release of ‘T.S. Spivet’ is just a caricature. [Laughs].”
However, the crazier detail in all this is that Jeunet has no idea what Harvey actually wanted to change. “We don’t know! It’s a question of principle. He doesn’t even know it himself probably. He needs to give the film to an American editor and say, ‘Do something!’ There is not a specific problem, he just needs to reedit the film,” the director said. “He does that with every movie except ‘The Artist.’ You know why? Michel Hazanavicius told me it was because the score was part of the entire film and matched the entire film. If Harvey Weinstein had reedited the film he would have had to rerecord the whole score one more time and it would have been very expensive. So he didn’t reedit the film [Laughs]. It was very clever of Hazanavicius in fact.”
And while you might think all of this makes Jeunet angry, he ultimately feels “very sad” about the whole situation. And indeed, it can be disheartening to spend years making a movie only to have its entire release left at the whims of a distributor who buys your picture, seeming to want to support it, only to turn around and demand changes.
Thoughts? Let us know what you think below and perhaps keep an eye for ‘T.S. Spivet’ on Netflix at some point in the future.