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Joe Johnston: The Truth Behind the Wolfman Director's Cut

Universal is heralding the director's cut of Captain America director Joe Johnston's The Wolfman, but Johnston himself clarifies the situation.
"First of all," he says, "the 'director's cut' is NOT the director's cut. Marketing always refers to it that way, but, as you know, it seldom really is the director's cut. The release version is the director's cut and it's the best version of the film (being the director's cut). The dvd has deleted scenes but they were all deleted for good reasons.

"Dennis Virkler and Walter Murch both did a great job of editing a complicated story effectively," he continues. "Like a lot of films, there was a moment that we knew the audience wanted to get to, Lawrence being bitten by the werewolf and his subsequent transformation, but there was an awful lot of story to set up before that happened, relationships to define so they pay off better later. Studios and producers are usually advocates of cutting out the character building stuff because they fear an audience's impatience with story that doesn't involve action or spectacle of some kind. This comes from watching the film too many times in too many versions and losing sight of what they felt on the first viewing.

"It's a difficult thing to do, to remain objective about something that you're so familiar with. I can't do it either, unless I step away and don't look at it for a couple of weeks. What you usually give up by 'cutting to the chase' is a satisfying resolution because you don't care about anyone in the story, even if you don't know why. We spent most of our time in the editing room condensing the first act, folding information onto itself, trying to tell maximum story with minimal screen time. I think we cut too deep in places and I think there were other places where we didn't cut deep enough, but we did reach the point where the preview audiences say it moves 'just right'. You have to take all audience comments with a grain of salt. What a preview will tell you is only what's not working."

Look for an audio interview with Joe Johnston this weekend in which he talks about the making of the film.
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