“It was pretty stunning”: Roger Deakins Wants Brad Pitt’s Cult-Classic $15M Box-Office Bomb to Release its 3 Hours Long ‘Snydercut’

"It was pretty stunning": Roger Deakins Wants Brad Pitt's Cult-Classic $15M Box-Office Bomb to Release its 3 Hours Long 'Snydercut'

Even if they don’t do well at the box office, some movies eventually win over audiences and become cult classics. One such work is The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, a historical epic by Andrew Dominik in 2007.

Despite having a stellar cast led by Brad Pitt and Roger Deakins’ masterful cinematography, the film’s $30 million production budget was barely covered by its $4 million domestic box office take. However, it made up for its lack of commercial success with its high artistic quality and rapidly expanding cult following.

A Cinematic Gem Finds Its Cult Following

Roger Deakins
Roger Deakins

In a stunning revelation, Roger Deakins, the acclaimed cinematographer responsible for the film’s visually stunning aesthetic, has stated his desire for a longer cut of The Assassination of Jesse James.

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Roger Deakins revealed the existence of a version that is longer than three hours in an interview with Collider, which is over half an hour longer than the theatrical release. This new and improved edition, which Deakins called “pretty stunning,” could give viewers a more in-depth look at the lives of Jesse James and the mysterious Robert Ford.

“It should be [on Criterion]. I would really like to see the long version, the first cut that I saw, released on Criterion. That’s what I’d hope for. It was over three hours. I don’t think it ever will, because last time I talked to Andrew about it he was quite happy with the version that got released. But I still remember that first early cut that I saw that was like three and a quarter I think, and it was pretty stunning. There was a four-hour version. The first cut was like four hours, I seem to remember.”

A cinematic gem that has found a devoted cult following, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was met with mixed reviews upon its initial release. The film depicts Jesse James, the notorious outlaw, and his complicated relationship with Robert Ford, an early supporter who later turned traitor.

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Criterion’s Reluctance and Fan Hopes

Roger Deakins
Roger Deakins

The film examines issues of hero worship, fame, and the dark underbelly of idolization, led by Brad Pitt’s mesmerizing portrayal of James and Casey Affleck’s nuanced performance as Ford. Roger Deakins expressed his desire for a longer cut of the film in an interview with Collider.

The director of photography recalled how enthralling it was to watch the first cut, which ran for more than three hours. Even a four-hour version that was said to have been planned back at the beginning of production was mentioned.

The Assassination of Jesse James
The Assassination of Jesse James

With the potential for a running time of over 195 minutes, the film’s narrative could be strengthened by delving more deeply into the character’s motivations and relationships. Although the prospect of seeing a longer version of The Assassination of Jesse James is intriguing, there could be obstacles in its eventual release.

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Director Andrew Dominik revealed in 2016 that the film preservation and exhibition powerhouse Criterion had decided against releasing the film’s original theatrical cut. They did not think it warranted inclusion in their museum at the time.

The tide, however, may have changed in the meantime. The film’s status as a cult classic has only grown over time, driving demand for a longer cut. Given Roger Deakins’ standing as one of the most admired cinematographers in the business, his support for the longer cut lends credibility to the request.

Source: IndieWire

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Written by Mabel Andrady

Mabel, aka MJ, is a FandomWire Sr. Writer, pop-culture fanatic, and an MA in Health Demography holder. When she's not indulging in her guilty pleasure of penning everything Hollywood, Marvel & DC, she writes academic essays on COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS. With 2500+ articles published online, she brings a unique twist to entertainment writing. A jack-of-all-trades, MJ enjoys movies, writes/acts in plays, writes music, and dreams of being a successful actress. She offers a fresh perspective, making her writing a must-read for those seeking knowledge and entertainment.