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Sony's 'Across the Universe': Two versions in conflict - The New York Times 3/20/07


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  • Sony's 'Across the Universe': Two versions in conflict - The New York Times 3/20/07

    Film Has Two Versions; Only One Is Julie Taymor’s

    By Sharon Waxman
    The New York Times
    Published: March 20, 2007

    LOS ANGELES, March 19 — In Hollywood creative differences among moviemakers often make for more interesting results on the screen. But rarely do those battles escalate so much that a studio takes a movie away from an award-winning director.

    Evan Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgess in “Across the Universe.”

    Misha Erwitt for The New York Times
    Joe Roth of Revolution Studios

    Scott Gries/Getty Images
    The director Julie Taymor
    Such is the case — for the moment — with "Across the Universe," a $45-million psychedelic love story set to the music of the Beatles, directed by Julie Taymor, the stage and screen talent whose innovative interpretation of the Disney animated film "The Lion King" is one of the most successful modern stage musicals.

    After Ms. Taymor delivered the movie to Joe Roth, the film executive whose production company, Revolution Studios, based at Sony, is making the Beatles musical, he created his own version without her agreement. And last week Mr. Roth tested his cut of the film, which is about a half-hour shorter than Ms. Taymor’s 2-hour-8-minute version.

    Mr. Roth’s moves have left Ms. Taymor feeling helpless and considering taking her name off the movie, according to an individual close to the movie who would not be named because of the sensitivity of the situation. Disavowing a film is the most radical step available to a director like Ms. Taymor, who does not have final cut, one that could embarrass the studio and hurt the movie’s chances for a successful release in September.
    Ms. Taymor declined to be interviewed, but issued a carefully worded statement: “My creative team and I are extremely happy about our cut and the response to it,” she wrote. “Sometimes at this stage of the Hollywood process differences of opinion arise, but in order to protect the film, I am not getting into details at this time.”

    Mr. Roth, a former Disney studio chief who proclaimed his ’60’s-influenced, artist-friendly ethos in 2000 by naming his new company Revolution Studios, is himself a director, of films like "Christmas with The Kranks, "Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise" and "Freedomland".

    He said that Ms. Taymor was overreacting to a normal Hollywood process of testing different versions of a movie, something he has done many times before, including with Michael Mann's "Last of the Mohicans." He called his version of “Across the Universe” “an experiment.”
    full article at
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  • #2
    Re: Sony's 'Across the Universe': Two versions in conflict - The New York Times 3/20/

    Sounds like a case for Alan Smithee to ride again. Quite possibly the most high-profile film for that pseudonym, as well.

    But really, ATU is the most pretentious junk film I've seen in some time, and I can tell simply from the trailer. Using a bunch of Beatles COVERS instead of actual Beatles songs is bad enough, but trying to create allegories to those pieces of classic music by making such obvious references as naming your main character Jude is just the easy way out.

    I can see a bunch of teens loving it, though, while I just sigh and put the original albums on again.


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