A studio takes a film away from its director, recuts it, and puts out the revised version over the director’s objections. It’s a story as old as Hollywood, though it’s rare that the studio recuts a film behind the director’s back. But that’s what seems to have happened with Across the Universe, Julie Taymor’s Beatles-scored musical starring Evan Rachel Wood (pictured). According to the New York Times, Revolution Studios chief Joe Roth lopped half an hour off of Taymor’s 128-minute cut and test-marketed his version, which he believes is more commercial; as a result, Taymor is considering going all Alan Smithee and taking her name off the project.
Now, Roth has the contractual right to recut the film, and he’s a director himself, though his movies (Christmas With the Kranks, America’s Sweethearts) aren’t exactly as acclaimed as Taymor’s works (Frida, Broadway’s The Lion King). Plus, a shorter cut can play more showings per day. Still, who would you trust more to do right by the movie musical: the woman whose radical reimagining of a Disney movie has been running on Broadway for a decade and spawned nine road-company productions, or the Revolution Studios exec who greenlit xXx: State of the Union and Gigli?