Filmmaker David Mackenzie (“Hell or High Water,” “Starred Up”) has announced that following its opening night premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, he’s set to cut a full twenty minutes from his new film “Outlaw King” before its next outing at the London Film Festival on October 17th.
Chris Pine stars in this biopic of Scottish King Robert the Bruce and effectively follows the events that happen after the death of William Wallace (of “Braveheart” fame). Robert went from being the wealthiest man in the Highlands to being a murderer to being made King to being an outlaw to slowly winning back the crown.
Set from 1304-1307, the film shows when Robert squared off with Edward I, the English sovereign, and unified a splintered Scotland. Mackenzie rushed to get the film finished in time for Toronto, the cut finished just two days before the premiere. The result was critics were mixed on the film, slamming repetitive battle scenes and poor pacing with its extended 137-minute runtime.
Mackenzie, however, tells Deadline it was the in cinema response that led to his decision: “I could feel what the audience was like in the theater. I’m sensitive to the way they felt.” Three days later he was back in the editing bay and while he won’t say what is being cut, he does say “some complete sequences” that don’t impact the story in both the first and third acts are likely out. He also says the edits, which now bring the movie down to a 117 runtime, are “entirely my decision”.
Mackenzie also talked about Chris Pine’s full frontal nude scene which remains in the final edit. The scene in question remains the most talked about element of the film, and it’s familiar territory for Mackenzie who got Ewan McGregor and Jack O’Connell to go fully nude for long sequences in his previous films: “I can’t understand why people get worked about that, I made ten films and most of them had male frontal nudity; it’s a bathing scene and people do tend to get out of the bath without clothes.”
No word as yet if the scene is historically accurate in terms of foreskin (or if possible digital foreskin was added), but Pine himself seems proud that it’s drawing so much attention – telling ET Online that it’s: “pretty cool”. Mackenzie adds that the initial cut of the film was around four hours.
“Outlaw King” is set for an awards run in select cinemas on November 9th along with hitting the streaming service on the same day.