Rian Johnson has been test screening his film Looper, and it’s said that audiences have had some trouble with a few of the slower scenes. Designed to flesh out the character arc of Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s character, the sequences were flagged up by test viewers as dragging down the pace.
As a result, say The LA Times, the scenes are to be excised.
Well, for the film’s American release, at least.
As you may recall, the film is a Chinese co-production and several scenes were filmed and set in Shanghai.
The financiers now want to ensure the film has as much Chinese-set action as possible, so they’ll be keeping the “slow” scenes in the edit, no matter the effect on the pacing.
There’s no way of knowing whose instincts are more accurate, not without seeing the different assemblies, but the test audience are at least thinking of the film as a narrative and not a showcase of local streets.
Incidentally, the film was scripted to be set in Paris. That changed as a result of the Chinese co-production. So we’re two big alterations into the transpacific financing deal.
One way to read all of this is that the Chinese backers made the film possible in the first place, and have now saved some of the more esoteric, less lowest common denominator material. Another is that they’re meddlers. I’d love to know how Rian Johnson sees it.