A few weeks ago, we reported that U.S. distributor The Weinstein Company was forcing director Bong Joon-ho to trim twenty minutes out of his hit South Korean film, Snowpiercer, to make it more palatable to U.S. audiences. It was an insult to both to Bong and to us especially since Snowpiercer may be a smart movie (I don’t know, I haven’t seen it), but at the very least, Americans should be able to understand the premise of a train traveling through a frozen, post-apocalyptic wasteland, and there’s a revolution brewing among the poorer passengers. Nevertheless, Harvey Weinstein wants twenty minutes gone and opening and closing voiceovers.
Bong was recently reached for comment on the forced edits. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
I came here after editing for the American version. I’ve never produced a new version for overseas premieres, and this is the first time I’m making a new version. Weinstein is actually being pretty soft toward editing, probably because it’s noticed how critics have praised the film and know how angry movie fans get over new edits. They even asked me which parts I want to include in the film.
The “actually being pretty soft” part acknowledges his negativity about cutting because it expresses surprise at how he thought it would be really terrible, but now it’s been downgraded to only somewhat terrible because the iron fist is wearing a velvet glove. As for the “parts I wanted to include”, Bleeding Cool puts it the best when they say, “Which of your fingers would you like us to not cut off?”
Presumably, Bong would like to keep all of his fingers and all of his movie, but Weinstein is a frustrated filmmaker who feels the need to meddle in other people’s hard work, and the result will be a cut that could be good, but will still send me hunting for an imported version.