Asked by GQ‘s Alex Pappademas about alleged pressure upon Quentin Tarantino to significantly trim Inglourious Basterds (the Wrap‘s Sharon Waxman reported that the film might conceivably lose as much as 40 minutes), Harvey Weinstein responds with emphatic denials — “this is nuts,” Quentin “won’t cut,” “I don’t think it’s going to be shorter,” etc. And then he says that the film actually will be cut down somewhat.
“Those stories are all untrue,” Harvey says. “There’s no fucking way. Here, read my lips: That is nuts. Please don’t even write that — it’s insanity. There’s not even a question of that. Whatever you’re reading, it’s like some insane blogger. There’s no truth to any of this. He’s not gonna cut.
“What he’s doing is just reorganizing some scenes. I mean, the guy had six weeks to cut his movie [for Cannes]; most guys take six months. Most guys take a year. When I worked with Martin [Scorsese], we’d do eighteen months in post-production. Quentin Tarantino cuts a movie in six weeks? Come on, there’s shit on that cutting-room floor that’ll blow your brains out. I was telling Quentin the opposite — ‘You should put that shit back in the movie.’ There’s scenes with Brad Pitt and the Basterds, and I’m praying he puts that shit back in, ’cause it’s un-fucking-believably great.
“Listen — this movie will be between two hours and twenty minutes and two hours and twenty-seven minutes. I don’t think it’s going to be shorter — it’s just a question of rearranging. I know he’s putting footage back into the movie. I know he’s got some cool shit that he didn’t get time to address.”
Variety‘s Todd McCarthy and the Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt both reported in their reviews that the running time was two hours and 32 minutes. So what Harvey is really saying is that apart from whatever Tarantino is considering regarding additions and re-shufflings, the final running time will be either five or twelve minutes shorter than what was shown in Cannes.
Weinstein also tells Pappademas that Tarantino long ago wrote a sprawling Band of Brothers-like Basterds storyline that goes way beyond what’s in the film, and that there’s current interest on his and Tarantino’s part to shoot a Basterds prequel.
“We weren’t even gonna do it as a movie!” he says. “We were gonna do this as, like, 16 hours for Showtime or HBO. He had so much stuff mapped out, we could have done like 3 movies. It was just epic. We could do two movies, three movies. I was begging for the movies, but Quentin wanted to do the TV series, Bob [Weinstein] wanted to do the TV series, so it was like two against one, you know? And I was getting outvoted all over the place, so I just figured, ‘All right, forget it, I’m not gonna be a loser, I’ll jump to the winning side.’ And then Quentin turns it into one movie. Go figure.”