MOVIE NEWS – Ridley Scott, the director of Napoleon, talked about the editing change he made in his 2005 historical epic, which he regretted the most – after the negative reviews.
Ridley Scott talks about the single editing mistake he made in the 2005 historical epic, which he considers the worst. Scott’s epic, Napoleon, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the infamous French emperor, is currently in theatres. But this film is not Scott’s only foray into the realm of historical dramas. In 2005, the director went even further back in time with an epic movie about the Crusades.
Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven was a critical and box office flop, and now that Napoleon has been released, the director has opened up about his heavily edited 2005 film, revealing which changes he already regrets.
Speaking to Deadline, Scott talked about cutting a huge subplot from the film. It would have given the film more emotional resonance if he had left it in. In his own words:
“Kingdom of Heaven, I removed 17 minutes and shouldn’t have, which was the dilemma of the Princess of Jerusalem, who discovered her son had leprosy. So that took that whole story sideways, and ate up 17 minutes of the movie. But to me, it just made the movie more meaty. And I removed it to get the story flying, and I regret it. But now I watch it and I think, wow, that’s good. Pretty good.”
The director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven reflects Ridley Scott’s original vision
Kingdom of Heaven cost $135 million and grossed only $218 million. This is a disappointing result on the heels of Scott’s Gladiator, and currently sits at just 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. Fortunately, Scott could later undo some severe editing mistakes he made to speed up the film’s pace. Among other things, he reinstated the aforementioned scene in which Sibylla, played by Eva Green, poisons her own son after discovering that the boy is in love with his late father, IV. Like King Baldwin, he suffers from leprosy.
The 144-minute theatrical version of Kingdom of Heaven may have dictated a faster pace, but Scott only released it at that length at the request of Fox, who became concerned after audiences in early previews gave the film poor reviews.
The 194-minute director’s cut released in 2006 is slower but, in Scott’s words, “meatier” and is now considered the film’s final cut. Like Napoleon, Kingdom of Heaven has been criticized for its historical inaccuracies.
Returning to the land of historical epics with Napoleon, Scott once again shows how fond he is of depicting the past through rampant storytelling. But then again, you may not be delighted with the film’s theatrical version. Because he referred to the existence of a 4-hour cut. It’s not yet known whether Scott’s latest vision of the past will be a blockbuster or a flop, but if it does fail, the director will once again have a longer cut that may bring back his vision even more.