I sat down for an interview with director Ridley Scott Saturday morning, presumably to talk about A Good Year, which most critics here seem to despise, even though it's an exquisitely made and enjoyable, if unmemorable, bauble (it also shows off Russell Crowe's comedic side to fine effect).
But what I really wanted to talk about with Scott was Kingdom of Heaven - or more specifically, the director's cut released earlier this year on DVD, which added 47 minutes of previously deleted footage to the version that played in theaters last summer. The longer cut is clearly so superior - it's practically a different movie - that I figured Scott would still be smarting a bit from having been forced by distributor 20th Century Fox to chop it.
Except that Fox is also the distributor of A Good Year, so Scott didn't take my bait. He complained about the process of testing films for preview audiences and how damaging it can be, talked about the advertising departments of studios and how much influence they wield on the executives who make the final decisions, and went on a bit about how a lot of the material in the script that gave the story historical and political context was deemed expendable.
But although he is obviously proud of the longer cut, Scott remained perfectly diplomatic. "I think they all learned out of it," was as critical as he got about the experience. I'll go one better and say that Fox blew it in a major way.