Margaret, Kenneth Lonergan‘s follow-up to the acclaimed feature debut You Can Count on Me, is one of those movies that people are dumbstruck by when I describe its post-production history to them. Shooting began on the film in late 2005, and has failed to see any sort of release in the long, long time since production was completed.
And this isn’t some small, independent production, either. This has a cast that includes Matt Damon, Anna Paquin, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, Allison Janney, Olivia Thirlby and Kieran Culkin. Take any of the names from that cast; if they weren’t known when it was shot, they’ve achieved a significantly larger amount of fame by this point. The problem (in a nutshell) is that the original cut of the movie was around three hours long, and Fox Searchlight only gave Lonergan final cut if it was around two hours. As he’s said to have a heavy desire to only make it his way…well, complications arose.
These “complications” have kept it out of sight in the time since. There’s been lawsuits, multiple attempts at editing a final cut, and various stops and starts on the fabled road to completion. Never mind that Martin Scorsese (who executive produced You Can Count on Me) called a cut of it that he saw a “masterpiece;” it’s had a tough fight over the past five-and-a-half years. I’ve always thought that it would see release at some point, as there’s too much opportunity for a studio to pass up by letting this movie sit on a shelf forever, but when it would see the light of day is something I can’t even try to answer.
There may be some hope, though, as our own Jack Giroux interviewed Mark Ruffalo a few days ago for FilmSchoolRejects, and the actor told him that we could see it in the near future, thanks to the help of one of its advocates, Mr. Scorsese.
When asked about being able to actually see the movie, Ruffalo said the following:
“Oh, it’s so… I don’t know. Marty Scorsese has come on now to do a pass on it with Kenneth. It was a movie that started at 186 pages. When he tried to cut it down, he had a very hard time. The studio was saying they wanted no more than two hours, and the rough cut I saw was a little bit over three hours long.
He couldn’t get it cut down. He had a really hard time. The studio, basically, said they weren’t going to release it. That’s where it’s been. It got tied up in lawsuits with Gary Gilbert, who tried to take the movie away and have someone else edit it behind Kenny’s back. Now Kenny has got it and Marty is kinda arbitrating his cut. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing it soon.”
He also praised the movie itself, calling it a masterpiece and saying that it’s “beautifully shot, beautifully acted, and the writing is incredible,” as well as a “love story to a post-9/11 America and New York City.”
Source: The Playlist