Mann Talks “Blackhat” New Cut, Sci-Fi & More

Filmmaker Michael Mann is on a minor break at this moment. His hacker thriller “Blackhat” opened to scathing reviews and dismal box-office early last year, since then he’s been prepping his Ferarri biopic and has taken some time out to recut “Blackhat” for a special screening which took place last week as part of a retrospective on his career at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music.

The retrospective also includes the first ever DCP print of 2004’s “Collateral” – something he claims is “far superior” to the theatrical prints struck at the time of the film’s release which did not properly convey the digital photography look.

Speaking with Happy Sad Confused podcast (via Indiewire, the filmmaker spoke about the “Blackhat” changes saying the new version is NOT a director’s cut, but he “wasn’t 100% happy” with the theatrical. The result was a re-ordering and trimming of some scenes to be more in line with his earlier pre-release cut before he effectively overdid it in the editing suite:

“It was a challenging film to do because the ambition of the film was to do an event driven narrative and develop characters within scenes, but have a very rapid narrative with rhythms imitative of how fast our world moves today in the digital information age. So this is why I intentionally had a rapidly driving plotline. But the engine of that was cyber tech so you had to track with the search for the code… which leads you on and on and on through various hacking techniques. So in moving some of the big pieces of story around I may have obfuscated [the audience] tracking the events of the basic plot.”

Mann says, and many would agree, that both “Heat” and “The Insider” are perfect films as is. One of his other more acclaimed works though, “The Last of the Mohicans,” he did do some major reworking of several years ago for that film’s Blu-ray release. He explains why he chose to do that:

“That [film] had a lot of changes. Like ‘Blackhat,’ I brought it back to the original concept. It doesn’t have the end speech by Chingachgook [Russell Means] and relies on the audience to get the sense of the last of the Mohicans, an annihilation of a people. And a lot of it is tightened. A lot of excess was taken out.”

Talking about where he might go in the future, he said “Heat” and ‘Mohicans’ prequels are possibilities albeit more pipe dreams than anything else. Mann has an avid dislike of green screen, but admits: “There’s a science fiction thing I wanted to do, so I may find myself in exactly that situation, although now with the way LEDs are used, it’s not as brutal…We’ll see. It’s in the distant future for sure.”