Does Harvey Weinstein Not Trust His Directors, or Does He Not Trust the Audience?

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Snowpiercer
A scene from Snowpiercer
Photo: The Weinstein Co.

It’s a well known fact Harvey Weinstein has no qualms about editing the films he releases and not always with the support of the film’s director. The latest instance is a battle over the final cut for the U.S. release of Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer, which has angered many film fans and it’s quite clear in the following interview with John Hurt (via The Playlist), it doesn’t particularly sit well with him either.

Speaking with HeyUGuys at the London Critics Circle Awards over the weekend, the outlet didn’t even need to urge Hurt to discuss the cuts as he immediately brings them up himself saying, “It’s a wonderful film — I’ve seen it — and I want it to be shown in the English speaking territories in its full version. And I’m not in agreement with Harvey Weinstein who wants to cut twenty minutes out of it, because I know what he’ll cut out.”

Word is the cuts involve eliminating a lot of character detail, turning the film into more of a conventional action-thriller, while there has also been talk of Weinstein wanting Neil Gaiman to write new voiceover for the feature (via BFI).

[amz asin=”1782761330″ size=”small”]When asked why he thinks Weinstein does this Hurt believes he can’t help himself, but then he says it’s also because “he doesn’t trust his directors“. I find this interesting because I’ve always felt his cutting had more to do with not trusting the audience, though you could say it’s that he doesn’t trust his directors know what the audience wants. I say this because I don’t think anyone believes Weinstein cuts these films in an attempt to sabotage them, he simply wants them to reach the widest audience possible. The question is, at what price?

Regardless, Hurt’s statement that it’s “endemic” with Weinstein may be spot on. Perhaps he can’t help himself and, of course, Weinstein’s cutting of these films in any way to find the widest audience is only a step below major studios, attempting to check off all the boxes so their blockbusters won’t offend anyone, will appeal to the widest audience and therefore make as much money as possible. Hurt is right to praise Weinstein for taking on these more ambitious and financially risky features, but at the same time he’s got to stop trying to get them to fit in a box they weren’t otherwise made to be in.

The jury is still out on whether Wthose 20 minutes from the domestic release of the film will actually be cut. So, fingers crossed the version Bong Joon-ho intends for us to see will make its way to the U.S. as the film is currently still on the festival circuit and without a U.S. release date.

Below I’ve added the interview with Hurt as well as four new clips from Snowpiercer, which stars Hurt along with Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, Kang-ho Song, Alison Pill, Octavia Spencer, Ewen Bremner and Ed Harris and centers on a story that takes place aboard a train known as the Snowpiercer, carrying the only survivors of a disastrous attempt to prevent global warming that has created an ice age in which the survivors struggle to adapt to existence in the only safe climate.

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Weekend: Jun. 20, 2019, Jun. 23, 2019

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