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The original cut of Batman V Superman was over four hours!

April 15th, 2016 by Matt Gault Comments

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One of the many criticisms levelled at Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was its overblown length. Clocking in at a whopping 153 minutes was seen as excessive to a lot of critics, but it could have been much worse.

We already know that the R-rated extended cut, which will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray, is slightly over three hours long but contains deleted scenes that are essential to explaining certain narrative points. However, the original cut of the film dwarfed both the theatrical and extended releases, coming in at over four hours!

Zack Snyder’s Apocalypse Now? It could have been.

Steve Hullfish of Pro Video Coalition (via Squareeyed) recently sat down with David Brenner, Batman v Superman’s editor, who discussed the various editing difficulties they ran into.

“In the script there were more story lines than you see in the movie today. That was probably our biggest editorial issue in trying to get the cut down to a reasonable length.”

“For us, the trickiest section was the beginning of the film, until the point where Bruce Wayne tells Alfred the truth about what is on the ‘White Portugese’ ship… the truth about his plan. This moment set into motion everything until the end of the film really. Until that point the movie was always tracking many solo paths, some intersecting, some not. Finally in this scene, the paths fork into one road.”

“In the script there are more subplots than you see in the movie right now. Also in terms of building this beginning we had to move things around. In the script, Lex was introduced much later, but we found that in watching the movie – because he’s such an important player, it was best to set him up sooner.”

“It was a lot to juggle. So the plot lines of a couple characters had to go.”

“So what was once a nearly four hour cut with absolutely everything was ridiculous – ended up being about a three hour cut, once all these added storylines were refined with the fat was cut out.”

Brenner also explained how Snyder is a visual director and what that was like to work with.

“I remember being a little worried. Three and a half hours, okay, that’s fine for a movie of this size, the way Zack likes to work. This was more daunting. But we cut down ‘Man of Steel’ from about 3 and half hours, I knew we’d get this done.

“[Zack Snyder’s] a super visual guy. He was a painter before he was a director, and more than anyone I’ve ever worked with he thinks in terms of pictures. He storyboards his movies himself. The whole movie from start to finish, he draws. He keeps books. ‘BvS’ had maybe three books of his drawings.”

“Right now he’s so busy in London prepping ‘Justice League,’ I’m the last guy he has time to talk to. I have questions, so I’ll wait till I go to London at the end of the week and I’ll figure it out. I think the more the work with somebody the more you understand that there’s a shorthand and it’s all going to be answered and there’s less anxiety about it.”

We would definitely watch this. Seriously. We want to see this… is it just us?

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Matt Gault is a sports writer and film fanatic. He is a fully-qualified journalist and has worked for BBCNI, Sunday Life and has been published on The Guardian's website. He interns at REDNI, sub-editing for the Belfast Telegraph. He studied at Queen's University pretending to like history and literature and then University of Ulster Coleraine, where he slacked off enormously for a year and somehow got away with it. He also enjoys Captain Morgans, The Sopranos, Led Zeppelin and Hunter S. Thompson which makes him a remarkably uninteresting person.

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