Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The pressure to cut 40 minutes from Basterds

In the final days of Cannes, there was talk about a scene in the film being added before the La Louisiane sequence for more context to the Michael Fassbender/Lt. Archie Hicox, and Diane Kruger arch. I was excited about this because more screen time for Michael is an excellent thing because as I stated before, if Michael weren't in IB, I wouldn't be interested in seeing this at the theater, it would be a DVD rental like 80% of the films that come out.

However, a few days ago, I was reading at one of the awards forums about the dire financial straits of the Weinstein Co., and low and behold, it has been announced today that Harvey is pressuring Quentin Tarantino to shave 40 minutes off this movie! Forty-minutes! At Cannes, the film clocked in at 2 hours and 40 minutes and was met with grumbling that it was a tad too long. So along with talk about adding the extra Fassbender scene, there were rumors that the film would be trimmed up a bit for its August 21st release, and that's perfectly understandable. But 40 minutes? Are they crazy?


The reason behind this desperate cut is that The Weinstein Company want to have a 2-hour film so that it can play more frequently at more theaters in the US. Bottom line, it's all about money because the Weinstein Company needs it badly. The more time IB has to play at a large quantity of theaters, the more people it will be able to lure in to see it, especially on opening weekend, an extremely important opportunity to recoup costs immediately. Apparently, Americans, don't want to see a nearly 3-hour film, and on top of that, a great portion of the film is subtitled for authenticity (which I greatly respect since I enjoy many foreign language films - but I'm an anomaly for an American). This is quite troubling. My fear is that if this report is accurate, and 40 minutes of the film is cut, Inglourious Basterds will be a mess of a movie because it will appear choppy in its story plot and context, the editing will be hard to follow, there will be huge plot gaps, and character development will be screwed up. My biggest fear is that such harsh cutting will have an adverse affect on Michael Fassbender's screen time, and with such a huge ensemble team, this will be devastating.


I learned from a brief Quentin interview, which I posted here on the sidebar a couple weeks ago, that there is a pivotal scene with Michael as Lt. Archie Hicox in which he speaks for like 30 minutes all in German. If this huge chop takes place... guess which scene we probably won't see at the theater? This is what is making me nervous. The primary reason for Weinstein to cut the film is to appeal to Americans, and Americans will not want to see an abbreviated film which still has a half hour scene with an unknown (to most Americans), German-Irish rising star speaking in German, with subtitles for them to read.


Man, this is so not cool! I went into Cannes really anxious about Fish Tank and so-so about Basterds, but when the fair reviews came out from Cannes about Basterds, I started to warm up to it. But now, I think that if this film is cut down to two hours, we'll be lucky to see Michael in all but 10 minutes of the film, and it will be the Brad Pitt movie that People and US Weekly magazines so dearly want to hype this summer. Another thing to take into consideration is that with money so tight for Weinstein Co., that means marketing for this film will focus on 'you know who', and red carpet events will be scaled back due to the recession and we may have just one opportunity to see Michael with the rest of the cast promoting Basterds. Hey, he may coincidentally be tied up with starting to film Birdsong in late July to even be a part of the marketing. I just don't know, but all this is not looking good.


No matter how this turns out, it will be good if you're a huge Brad Pitt fan, but very bad if you're a huge Michael Fassbender fan. Still plan on going to see Basterds in August, but definitely buy the DVD for your Fassy Fix.



9 comments:

Tina said...

I saw this article this morning and was like oh crap this isnt going to be good for us!

Simone said...

Yup, and just our luck, our boy may end up on the cutting room floor or on the Director's cut DVD.

Saltire Flower said...

Oh no. I dread the final outcome of this. I'd rather they cut Eli Roth's scenes and keep Michael's because they are so much better in the script.

Simone said...

Roth's fan boys will be pissed about him being cut out, just as bad as how we will react if that happened to Michael. I think this movie is going to be a hot mess, but it's a must see ONLY because of Michael.

Simone said...

ps, here is a male Fassy fan's blog about the Masculine Ideal. A very cool list that Michael would be proud to be included on. :)

Tina said...

lol...he is obessed by Michael as we are! BTW, I think I noticed our 1st male fassy fan over on MFO today.

Bowler said...

Observation: Inglourious Basterds sets out the perfect plot for a video game

Anonymous said...

Am loving the Basterd's clip in the link from The Sun...Tarantino on a knife edge. What a glorious slice of Brit ac-tor ham from Michael - love it.

Simone said...

It's about time we see a clip that focused on Michael. I still don't know if I'll like IB, but I can't wait to see it because of him.

Here's the link to the clip!