Even before Harvey Weinstein was outed a serial sexual abuser, the former mogul struck fear into the hearts of filmmakers for a different reason: his tendency to interfere with the editing process and overrule the visions of young filmmakers.
In a new interview with The New Yorker, Field recalled his dismay when he learned that Weinstein’s Miramax had acquired his debut film “In the Bedroom” at the Sundance Film Festival. While the film was overwhelmingly praised at the festival, Field says he knew that Weinstein’s reputation for re-cutting films could jeopardize the response to its theatrical release. He says the film was ultimately saved by advice from an unlikely source: Tom Cruise.
“I was weeping in the bathroom,” Field said. “I called up Tom Cruise and said, ‘Something terrible has happened.’ He basically said, ‘This is how you’re going to play it. It’s going to take you six months, and you’ll beat him, but you have to do exactly what I’m going to tell you to do, step by step.’”
Field went on to explain that Cruise told him to let Weinstein change the film as much as he wanted without pushback, then to wait for the recut film to test poorly with audiences. Once that happened, Field should remind Weinstein of the strong reviews that the original cut received and suggest that he release that version instead.
Field did exactly that, and he says that the plan worked exactly the way Cruise said it would. “In the Bedroom” went on to be a massive success and pick up five Oscar nominations, with Field scoring nods for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.
While Field is currently enjoying rave reviews and a strong award season showing for “TÁR,” he’s still no stranger to the difficulties that independent filmmakers so often face. His infamous struggles to secure financing for his projects led to a 16-year gap between his second film, “Little Children,” and “TÁR.” And in a recent interview with IndieWire, he opined about how the theatrical landscape has become increasingly hostile to arthouse directors looking to see their films projected on film.
“I mean, nothing has changed about making a movie,” he said. “I think the world for cinema-goers has changed drastically in a way that I probably needn’t add to. Other people have said it at least as well or better than I could and have been attacked or inflamed for it. But let’s put it this way. I went out to tech theaters in New York today and it was really depressing. Super depressing.”