When Quentin Tarantino first screened Django Unchained a couple of weeks back it clocked in at three hours and twelve minutes worth. Since then, and no doubt factoring in the response to that screening, Tarantino and editor Fred Raskin have been at work, tweaking and re-ordering.
At least, that’s according In Contention’s Kris Tapley, who tonight tweeted:
Two weeks ago Django was three hours and 12 minutes long. They’ve experimented with it since, re-ordering scenes, etc. Down to the wire.
— Kristopher Tapley (@kristapley) November 26, 2012
And so Quentin Tarantino finds himself just days from having to deliver a finished version of his film but also wanting to rework it and consider other options. Another reminder of how ass-about-face the film industry so often has it, blasting release dates into the rockface as much as a year or two before a film even goes into production.
You know, I find deadlines hugely important to my work, for sure, but nobody wants to be thrown out into the street when they’ve only just managed to pull their trousers half-way up.
There may even be another story here. Coming in at almost three and a quarter hours almost certainly wasn’t in the Weinsteins’ master plan for this movie.
Could it be that Harvey Weinstein’s response to early screenings was the most important one, the one that sent Tarantino back to the edit bay? It’s certainly not unlike Big Harvey to pull out his pocketwatch, quickly followed by a pair of scissors.
At least it’s now too late for him to get the film chopped into halves and sent out to pull in twice the ticket price, as per Kill Bill.
I’d be curious to know if Tarantino has a contractually mandated maximum runtime. It’s certainly likely. Of course, one would hope that these things would be flexible, particularly in cases where a film is working well at ‘full length’ as the previewed version of Django reputedly was.
Edits or no, I’m confident that Tarantino will turn Django Unchained into something worth the wait – it’s just that I’d rather wait even longer if he wants to keep working on it. And, no, I wouldn’t be happy with a revised edition on Blu-ray, rendering this Christmas’ cinema release nothing more than some kind of ‘beta’ version.