By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
The Lion’s Pack Roars
Across the Universe is undoubtedly the most extraordinary film I have had the chance to edit in my 20-plus years as a film editor. The film is entertaining, full of invention and spectacle, and, I believe, appealing to people of all ages. For that reason, and because of numerous inaccuracies written within, I disagree with Nikki Finke’s column about the film [“Across an Alternate Universe,” April 13–19].
Although Nikki Finke is entitled to her opinion (has she seen the film?), it is ill informed, and many of her facts are wrong. All versions (Julie Taymor’s three tests and Joe Roth’s one test) of Across the Universe have tested well. (See aintitcoolnews.com reviews from two different Taymor test screenings.) I have attended every screening and observed the audiences’ reaction, which consistently ranges from tears to laughter to applause. A film can be too long at 90 minutes if the content is not there. However, when the content is there, the length becomes irrelevant. That said, Julie’s last tested cut ran 128 minutes, and we are still trying to find cuts without hurting the music and the story. As a reminder, the average running time of the 2006 five Best Picture nominees was 127 minutes.
In Hollywood, editing a film is an art and it is a business. A film that costs any significant amount of money often goes through this painful process of art vs. commerce, sometimes for the worse. Unfortunately, when the process is exposed by the press, it casts a shadow upon the film undeservedly. Finke is ultimately an outsider who spoke to very few (if any) knowledgeable people involved with this process. Finke did not attempt to contact anyone on Julie’s behalf with questions or to verify facts. Rather, her goal it seems was to create controversy.
No doubt, I am close to this film and to Julie. I have edited all three of her films. Since 1998 she has become a dear friend, and, not being masochistic, I could not have worked with her if she was “hysterical.” She is the most creative director with whom I have worked; she is a passionate and visionary artist. And although she is demanding of her collaborators, that drive for excellence only serves to enhance the creativity in all of us. It is why we keep coming back.
Soon the film will be released, and audiences around the world will be amazed by Julie’s vision, just as they have been with The Lion King, and you will wonder why Nikki Finke wrote this ridiculous article.
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