An interesting twist has taken place in the saga of Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s apocalyptic action-drama “Snowpiercer” and what version American audiences will get to see.
An adaptation of the cult French graphic novel “Le Transperceneige,” the story is set in a future in which Earth is in the midst of a new Ice Age. All that’s left of humanity is a society living on a perpetual-motion powered train.
As previously reported, The Weinstein Company wants to remove twenty minutes from the film to gear it more towards a U.S. audience and cut down on some of character development in favor of the action set pieces.
Many involved in the film’s production, and the critics who’ve seen it, are not happy with the idea of the cuts. The film’s scribe Kelly Masterson told Indiewire: “I’m very proud of the film — and horrified that Harvey Weinstein doesn’t want the English-speaking world to see Bong’s beautiful movie. I just have my fingers crossed that they will solve their problem and that some way we will get to see Bong’s cut of it.”
There may be hope on the horizon though. In an interview with Twitch, Bong was asked about the status of the project and what was happening with the North American version:
“it’s still going on. Some aspects are a little bit exaggerated. Some people misunderstood that there already exists a North American version with 20 minutes cut out. But that kind of version doesn’t exist.
Officially the negotiation is still going on, and I’m trying my best to keep my own version and also the CJ people (the Korean investors/distributors) are trying to confirm the release date, the marketing plan and many other things they are still negotiating.
The funny thing is once there did exist a 20-minute cut-out version, a Weinstein version of Snowpiercer, they had a screening of that version in New Jersey in July. Then CJ did another test screening of my original version in LA with a normal American audience, and with my version the response was much higher than the scores from the Weinstein version.
So we already have one fixed American version with 20 minutes cut out but that’s not the final version, we are still going through the process.
He goes on to say the Weinsteins have no issue with the darker or more violent aspects of the film, they see it very much as an R-rated film. They just “want a more speedy tempo”. He also goes on to say:
“I’m not that kind of young, innocent film school student who is saying “Nobody can touch my movie!!” I’m not like that, I can negotiate, but I really hope to protect and keep my vision. The unique tone and mood of the movie and I don’t want to destroy the details of the characters. So it’s still going on.”