Bong Joon-ho Says His Uncut Version of SNOWPIERCER Tested Higher than The Weinstein Company’s Version

by     Posted 287 days ago

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Over the past several months, there’s been controversy regarding the North American cut of Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer.  The post-apocalyptic action-drama has been a hit in his native South Korea, but The Weinstein Company wants to remove 20-minutes to make the movie more palatable to U.S. audiences.  Bong’s response has ranged from restrained to furious regarding the cuts, but either way, there’s definitely some ongoing conflict behind-the-scenes.  We originally reported that the cuts Harvey Weinstein wanted would play up the action and add opening and closing voiceovers.  Bong has now clarified the nature of the cuts, and why his version may have the edge.

Hit the jump for more.  Snowpiercer stars Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, Alison Pill, Ewen Bremner, Octavia Spencer, Kang-ho Song, and Ko Asung.

snowpiercer-poster-internationalIn an interview with Twitch, Bong explained where he and The Weinstein Company were at in the editing process:

I’d like to ask you about TWC and what’s going on regarding recutting the film.

Bong Joon-ho – It’s still going on. Some aspects are a little bit exaggerated. Some people misunderstood that there already exists a North American version with 20 minutes cut out. But that kind of version doesn’t exist. 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. 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 there was already a TWC version back in July?

Yes, for test screenings. 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.

snowpiercer-ko-asungAt first glance, that’s a bit confusing: A version with 20 minutes cut out doesn’t exist…except The Weinstein Company has an American version with 20 minutes cut out.  I assume what Bong means is that some people are assuming there’s an alternate cut that’s ready to go, but that’s not the case.  Weinstein’s version with 20 minutes removed is only for test screenings and not a final cut.  I’m glad Bong’s version tested higher (or at least so he says; it behooves him to make that statement part of the public record).  I also like that he basically says people in New Jersey aren’t a normal American audience.

Bong also says the cuts are to give the movie “a more speedy tempo”, which is similar to what we heard when the controversy first emerged: the cuts “would make the film seem more like an action movie.”

The South Korean director notes that this is the first time he’s ever had to deal with this kind of interference, but hopes they “can reach a good conclusion.”




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  • enderandrew

    Harvey Weinstein always asks for 20 minutes to be cut from almost every movie he picks up. There was a similar fight over Sling Blade, and most people in the end preferred the shorter, tighter cut of the movie.

    • Lex Walker

      But in that case, 20 minutes weren’t cut, they just sped up Billy Bob Thornton’s slow drawl and got 20 minutes back. /joking

    • Lex Walker

      But in that case, 20 minutes weren’t cut, they just sped up Billy Bob Thornton’s slow drawl and got 20 minutes back. /joking

  • Stefan Bonomo

    As long as we do eventually get to see the original cut, like on a director’s cut DVD, then I’m okay with this. But still, screw Weinstein.

  • mattinacan

    if these cuts are approved, it confirms that I won’t be buying a movie ticket to this. I will wait for the director’s blu ray.

  • BradZuhl

    Not sure what you’re trying to imply about New Jerseyans. Obviously they had the good taste to not like the Weinstein cut, so give them some respect for that.

  • paul h

    Typical Weinsteins and their frustrated-film-maker shtick, why anyone agrees to work with/for them I don’t think I’ll ever understand.

  • paul h

    Typical Weinsteins and their frustrated-film-maker shtick, why anyone agrees to work with/for them I don’t think I’ll ever understand.

  • Kévin.

    I saw the movie in France in its original cut. The movie’s fantastic but I have my idea about what the problem can be, and it’s maybe not the tempo but to censor some of the darker stuff happening in the movie. I won’t say anything about it but there are things that can disturb some people.

    • Lex Walker

      Some people need to be disturbed. Leave it in.

    • Lex Walker

      Some people need to be disturbed. Leave it in.

  • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

    I loved how the show Entourage made fun of him with their “Harvey Scissor Hand” references and he’s still doing exactly that. The guy does this all too often. Check out the little film called “Killshot” w Mickey Rourke and read about the crazy post production it went through w him. I say at this point to let the director have his final cut the way he envisioned the film. Ridley Scott had the same issue w Legend and the Director’s Cut is way superior to the US version (w the exception to the Tangerine Dream score).

  • Northern Star

    Harvey Weinstein is a f**cking Weapon of Mass destruction when it comes to films… thanks to this fat goon, Martin Scorcese’s ‘Gangs of New York’ was totally castrated by – you guessed it – twenty minutes… what is it with this guy?

  • lordjim

    well that´s the reason why great asian directors go downhill when they make a movie in hollywood.fuck the american studio system they got no respect for directors or movies at all, they are only in for the money but have no artistic sensibilities or a clue what actually makes a movie great.even american directors say that the studio system went downhill since the eigthies, the studios used to be owned by people who knew about movies nowadays they are owned by bankers.

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