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Rian Johnson’s ‘Looper’ Getting Second, Overseas-Friendly Edition

Written by on June 21, 2012 

If you were one of the few who saw Brick upon its release — or, even, The Brothers Bloom — would you have imagined that the writer and director of this strange, slightly esoteric film would, in seven years, make a prospective action blockbuster that’s in the middle of American-Chinese entertainment relations?

If the answer was “yes,” my house keys will not be in your possession anytime soon.

Anyhow, 24Frames have learned that Rian Johnson‘s Looper, being a co-production between the United States and China, will get a “longer, more Shanghai-centric edition” that should please the latter nation. Remember when, in January of 2011, the script’s worldwide scope shifted from Paris as part of a deal with the nation’s financiers? This is another step in that deal.

Having not seen any cut, guesses as to the nature of these alterations, speaking in terms of quality and general content, are all but moot. There is the helpful note that, in this new cut, footage of “Shanghai streets and landmarks” and, more substantially, sequences displaying “exposition about how Gordon-Levitt’s character took a downward spiral” are staying put — all “at the request of financiers from the country.” Those in the United States won’t see them in theaters because, according to test audiences, these adversely affected the pacing. Chinese investors don’t see it as a concern, probably only because “they wanted the [China-set] scenes in.”

While I’m sure some are going to read this news and, for reasons beyond me, get slightly nervous about Looper‘s overall quality… well, I wouldn’t even know how to respond. (The best I can muster: It’s not like alternate international cuts are even remotely new. Honestly.) Johnson might not be thrilled about having a supposedly inferior version of his film playing across the planet’s most populated nation — it’d kind of bother me, to be honest — but those located everywhere else will get what is (here’s that word again), supposedly, the strongest cut. If you live in China, however, our condolences are deserved.

Do you think this financial-based decision has any long-term effect, on Looper or the international film business in general?

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