Casting The First Stone
As Oliver Stone Proves in His New Boxed Set, It's Not a Conspiracy if They Really Are Out to Get You
Long before the advent of DVD, the name Oliver Stone was already synonymous with the term director’s cut. Now, thanks to the wonders of digital technology, the voluble director of Wall Street, JFK, and Any Given Sunday has found the perfect place to unload his vast cinematic attic: the Oliver Stone Collection (Warner, 7 or 11 discs, $166.68/$276.78, also on VHS), a mammoth DVD boxed set loaded with extra scenes, supplemental research, and plenty of conspiracy theories. Recently, the natural-born rabble-rouser sat down with EW to look back (and to the left) on his collected works — including the mysteriously MIA Platoon.
— Scott Brown
So where’s Platoon?
You know, MGM stiffed [Warner] on Platoon and Salvador. They had a big fight. I don’t know much, I just know there was a lot of bad blood.
Kinda nice having people fight over your work, huh?
You could say I’m glad they have some library value, although a lot of people don’t remember Salvador. I know this because the people at MGM said, ”What is it?” But I did a commentary for it. I think [MGM] is going to [release Salvador and rerelease Platoon on DVD] midyear.
Are you a big DVD fan?
Any form of preservation is good. And there are so many worthy films they can’t keep up. Museums do good work, of course, but the commercial motivation is the best motivation.
So what version of Natural Born Killers [the R-rated version is in the set; the unrated director’s cut is available from Trimark] — and of all your movies, for that matter — do you want the public to remember?
I’m not that picky about it. It’s an ongoing process. Think about books: Writers go back to them at various stages of their lives, so there are earlier editions, later editions. I’d never have released a film theatrically without having approved it. So I’ve never had a problem with a studio [cut]. I did have huge problems with the MPAA … I was okay with the R cut [of Natural Born Killers], but I prefer the director’s cut. I accept the theatrical cut because I made it — nobody replaced me.
Well, you certainly weren’t stingy with the supplements.
I wanted to be thorough because my films are often criticized for accuracy, and I’m trying to point out that a lot of research went into them.
So is this the last word on Oliver Stone, or do you foresee future editions?
Well, look at JFK. It’s enormous [at 205 minutes]. Other people are talking, people who are very knowledgeable in [the Kennedy assassination lore], even more so than I am, and that opens up the possibility that, yeah, there ought to be [another edition]. Probably in 2010, there will be some new DNA evidence. [Pause] If they’ll let it out.
Speaking of classified information: You were a writer on the original Conan the Barbarian, correct?
I wrote a very elaborate script. Paramount saw it and flipped out. It [would] have cost $50 million [to make] at that time. I wanted Ridley Scott to do it. But he chose Blade Runner. And that set us back. I really always strongly felt it could have been a Bond series, 12 pictures, with a great central character if they’d kept the quality up. Ah, it was an outrageous script. I always get approached about remakes.