All the Pretty Horses was a difficult experience for you [with Miramax recutting the theatrical release and dumping Daniel Lanois' score]. You still have the original version — the one Matt Damon raved about. Is there any chance that fans will eventually get to see that cut?
You know, in a perfect world, I would show my cut with Dan’s music in theaters across the country for people who know about that and just want to see [it]. In other words, not to put it out as a movie [to make money] in theaters, or not to put it on DVD to be bought. But to just invite people for free. If there were a theater big enough, it’s like, “For all you people who have kind of agreed with me here and you really want to see this and you don’t mind sitting there for two hours and 42 minutes.” That whole idea about there being a five-hour cut or something? That never existed. There was never a five-hour cut. There was not even a three-hour cut. It was 2:42. Which is the same length as The English Patient.
And it was also what they had hired you to do, because they had conceded it would be a three-hour epic.
That’s right. They wanted me to make a three-hour movie. And then once I made it, they said, “No, no, we have to cut it to under three hours.” I said, “You see, if you designed a house to be 12,000 square feet and you’ve already built it, and then they said it can only be 7,000 feet because of some zoning thing. You have to cut off 5,000 feet of this house… and you’re an architect… can you imagine?” So same story. Look, not everybody wants to watch a two hour and 42 minute movie, but for anybody who does, the two hour and 42 minute cut with Dan’s music is better.
When’s the last time you watched it?
Is it excruciating to watch?
A little bit. I mean, it’s heartbreaking to watch. What I’ve done over the years, a few friends of mine, I would show them scenes from it, with Dan’s music and my cut of the scenes, just to show them. And they’d watch that and go, “Okay, I get it.” You saw the movie, the one that played in theaters, and it’s a good movie. I was proud of it. I thought it should’ve done better than it did but they advertised it as a love story between Matt and Penelope [Cruz] and that’s not what it was. I begged them not to, but that’s what they did. She’s out of the movie a little over halfway through. It’s [really] about those three kids. It’s about the end of the west. But of course, the posters: Matt and Penelope airbrushed staring at each other.