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Martin Scorsese Rejects the Idea of Director’s Cuts for One Definitive Reason

Bad news for any Scorsese fan hoping to one day see his four-hour cut of "The Wolf of Wall Street."

Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese

Gregorio Borgia/AP/Shutterstock

Hoping for the release of Martin Scorsese’s four-hour “The Wolf of Wall Street”? You’ll have to keep waiting, as the movie Scorsese released in December 2013 is the only director’s cut that exists. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Scorsese rejects the notion of a director’s cut and maintains that in most cases theatrical cuts are director’s cut.

“The director’s cut is the film that’s released — unless it’s been taken away from the director by the financiers and the studio,” Scorsese said. “[The director] has made their decisions based on the process they were going through at the time. There could be money issues, there could be somebody that dies [while making] the picture, the studio changes heads and the next person hates it. Sometimes [a director says], ‘I wish I could go back and put it all back together.’ All these things happen. But I do think once the die is cast, you have to go with it and say, ‘That’s the movie I made under those circumstances.’”

Just because Scorsese doesn’t believe in director’s cuts doesn’t mean he can’t see their appeal. “We would have loved to see an extended version of a number of films in the past where scenes were cut out,” the filmmaker said, citing Sam Peckinpah’s 1973 action film “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” as an example.

I saw the full version a few days before it opened at a meeting and it was two hours and 20 minutes or so,” Scorsese said. “Then MGM released their version and it was 90 minutes. We all said, ‘Oh no, it was a masterpiece,’ and wished it could be saved. The editor saved a copy and what you see now is what we saw in that meeting. That is a director’s cut. And if the editor said there was another 20 minutes that Peckinpah wanted to keep in there, I would have loved to see those 20 minutes. So I understand the idea of an audience wanting to be entertained for another 20 minutes in that world.”

Anyone familiar with the four-hour “Wolf of Wall Street” cut should not be too surprised with Scorsese’s thoughts. Scorsese’s editor Thelma Schoomaker has spoken highly of the four-hour “Wolf” that screened for test audiences, but Scorsese himself has always maintained the 180-minute theatrical cut is the final version of the film. The director returns to theaters November 1 with his Netflix-backed “The Irishman.”

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