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The Current War Finally Gets Theatrical Release

New Version After Harvey Weinstein Turmoil

Completed in 2017, The Current War by director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon should have been released in cinemas at the end of that year. But because of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, which became public at the end of 2017, the release was delayed. Which is both a curse and a blessing for the movie. It was precisely because of the delay and Weinstein's withdrawal from production that the director was able to complete his version of the film and not have to bow to the wishes of the previously almighty producer. He wanted the film to be ready in time for the Toronto Film Festival TIFF 2017, which is why Gomez-Rejon didn't have enough time for editing. Critics were not enthusiastic about the hastily created version.

via Indiewire: “It had been accepted to Toronto based on an early cut and then came the rush to finish in time [...] I knew in my heart, and every fiber of my body was saying, it’s not ready. I was drowning in notes, to the point I was addressing them more than editing the film. [...] We rushed the mix, ADR, sound."

After the debacle, Harvey Weinstein took over and under his command, a second cut of the film was made, which was to be released at the end of 2017. Gomez-Rejon was in despair. But when Harvey Weinstein fell, this version was history, too. Executive producer Martin Scorsese prevented Lantern Entertainment, the new rights holders, from rashly bringing the film to foreign cinemas in order to make money.

The director officially had the final cut (with conditions), but Harvey Weinstein didn't seem to care, and Gomez-Rejon was helplessly at the mercy of the producer's pressure. But with Martin Scorsese, The Current War had a powerful guardian angel, who Gomez-Rejon knew from earlier and therefore joined as EP. If something goes wrong and the film is taken away from the director, Scorsese has to approve the new film version. And in the chaotic aftermath of Weinstein's fall, he never got a version shown that he should have approved. He certainly wouldn't have done it against the director's will. So there were no official releases after TIFF. This gave the director the chance to finish his version.

The new distributor, 101 Studios, secured the rights to The Current War and supported the director. A release is now planned for August 2019. Of course, it will distribute the desired version of Gomez-Rejon, which is about 10 minutes shorter than the TIFF version but still contains 5 new scenes. Also, new music and other suggestions, e.g. by Martin Scorsese, were implemented. The conflict between Edison and Tesla seems to make more sense now.

Gomez-Rejon: Everything missing is there now, including the right pacing that escalates the tension between these two men [...] The heart of the film is restored: Edison’s relationship with his wife, and the explanation of her fatal illness and what it did to him. You feel her loss deeply and it carries you through as he goes to a dark side without her there to humanize his ambition. Westinghouse has been humanized without making him a saint, and there are now layers and complicated performances so that instead of spoon-fed emotion, everything is earned. The music heightens the tensions of their war. There are new scenes with Tesla, who was never meant to be a lead character but now you see his genius and vulnerability. He doesn’t feel forgotten in this movie, and he gives heart and clarity to the clash between these two men and what drives them to go to such dark places.

Release: Apr 22, 2019 - Author: sausagemoo81 - Translator: Mike Lowrey - Source: Indiewire

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