That four-hour ”director’s cut” of Dances With Wolves isn’t headed toward your VCR anytime soon, despite rumors to the contrary. While the small screen has come to serve as a second chance for filmmakers who can’t seem to let their babies go — think of Peter Bogdanovich’s recent laserdisc revamping of The Last Picture Show — Kevin Costner and his producing partner, Jim Wilson, hope that their newly completed Dances marathon will hit theater screens first.
”I spent seven months working on it,” Wilson says of the expanded Wolves. He’s quick to defend the Oscar-winning version as ”the best picture we had in us at the time,” yet Wilson also says he’s ”ecstatic” over the recut. ”It’s a brand-new picture,” he insists. ”There’s now more of a relationship between Kevin and Stands With a Fist, more with the wolf, more with the Indians — stuff that’s integral all through the story.”
Of course, exhibitors may not want a longer version of an already widely seen movie (no deals have been made with either theatrical or video distributors), but Wilson remains optimistic. ”I don’t think the time is now,” he acknowledges, ”but ideally, there is a point at which it would come out with an intermission, booked into the very best venues in America.” A premiere in the form of a two-night network miniseries (à la The Godfather Saga) is also a possibility. For now, however, the four-hour Wolves remains a private dancer.