Posted on Friday, November 20th, 2009 by Russ Fischer
Some of the weirdest and most interesting news lately has been about action in the edit bay. We saw that a couple of world-class craftsmen had been brought in to rework The Wolfman, for one. Now there are tales of tweaks that run both ends of the crazy spectrum. When we can run a news item that puts Brett Ratner and Peter Jackson in the same headline you know the world has gone topsy-turvy, but at least they’re not working together.
First up, THR reports that Ratner has been hired to re-edit Kites, “a love story shot in Las Vegas, Mumbai, New Mexico and Los Angeles.” The film will be released in English and Hindi; the two versions won’t be dubbed, as they were shot simultaneously. Ratner is cutting up the English version, and the obvious joke is that all storytelling might as well be in Hindi to him. What’s the point of this story? To have a laugh, I suppose, as I can’t come up with any reason that this is news otherwise. Certainly got my attention for a second. Here’s a longer synopsis from IMDB, so read it with all the suspicion something sourced from IMDB deserves:
In the harsh terrain of the Mexican desert, a mortally wounded man is left for dead in the heat of the desert sun. This is J. Once a street smart, carefree young guy. Now, a wanted man. As death looms, the only thing that keeps him alive is the quest to find the love of his life, Natasha. A woman betrothed to another man, but surely destined for J. A woman who comes into his life like a bolt of lightning and changes it forever.
Things get a little more interesting over in Peter Jackson’s side of the spectrum. A small Reuters report the other day noted that Jackson was adding “more violence and suffering” (those are his words) to The Lovely Bones, after test audiences were unsatisfied with the fate of one character.
The test screening process is a weird part of the filmmaking system, but making edits after screenings can be crucial. If your film just isn’t working in front of an audience, only sheer hubris would prevent you from tweaking. But this is a strange thing to do, even for a filmmaker who is known for his scenes of violence.
But it’s really not that big a deal when you read the actual report — I won’t post the details here to avoid spoilers for those who are shy, but read the whole Reuters report to find what was added. It’s not any sort of drastic change, and doesn’t sound like the sort of thing that would raise eyebrows when seen in the film. (It’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom level stuff, and not even on par with that film’s serious violence.) My curiosity about the film remains unsated, but this is hardly a prediction of gloom; just a minor tweak instead.