Since I stopped with cut #1, I can’t personally speak to whether or not Oliver Stone has gotten anywhere close to making a good movie out of Alexander with his subsequent two cuts. Whatever the answer, he’s not finished yet, and the success WB has had with the varying editions means Stone gets to try again, this time with a fourth, super-duper-final-Director’s Cut. Here’s how he explains getting there:
On Alexander, I released a shorter version [in theaters] because of Warner Brothers issues. And I [was] also rushed. [When] I released the director’s cut – it wasn’t called a ‘director’s cut’. It was called ‘The Final Cut’ because [earlier] there was a rushed director’s cut that I was responsible for. My third version three years later in 2007 was called ‘A Final Cut’ and I actually added forty some odd minutes – which I think makes the film better. [I didn’t go back] for money. I just did it because I didn’t feel I had finished the movie, and I felt like I was rushed… It took three years [for me] to fully understand [Alexander]. I’m going to go back next year actually. I’ve been asked by Warner Brothers because they did so well with ‘The Final Cut’. They actually sold more than a million copies. They’ve asked me to go back next year and do a fourth version.
So that’s the timeline, and fair enough. Certainly different from Lucas’ controversial tinkering- Stone has genuinely been searching for something amongst the monumental amount of footage he shot and story he covered. That’s an endeavor I can certainly empathize with, especially when he’s being asked to do it because it’s making WB some coin.
For the skeptical though, Stone also points to other precedents for filmmakers re-examining their films and producing many many versions of great epics…
Frankly, it’s a movie about history and I just feel like I can add something more. I wouldn’t do it otherwise… I don’t need more footage. I want to cut it down now because I added too much. I want it to come back a little bit. There’s some trimming [needed]. Have you ever heard of Abel Gance and Napoleon? Coppola actually brought back a version in 1980 at Radio City Music Hall. Huge, black and white, silent movie and it worked. It was magic. Gance had like thirteen versions of the film by the time he died because it was done in triptych in those days. They did three screens. This version that he did was unbelievable. I’m not saying I’m going to have thirteen [versions of Alexander], but I just think it’s important to me, this film. DVD has given it that second life because all the people that have seen it, that million people adds up to a huge different base and they get it.
This comes from some interviews the guys at Collider were around to catch. No word on the timeline of this new cut, but I’m sure the great big grand Blu-ray collector’s set will be trumpeted from the hills once it’s ready to make war on your shelf space again.
Any chewers out there still following the Stone/Alexander saga? Is Stone still fighting a losing battle, or has his siege on his own film resulted in some headway?