It was almost a year ago when we reported that Martin Scorsese had been filming a documentary centered, in some part, on The New York Review of Books — only a natural focus after the lens shone on violent gangsters, a shady mental institution, and money-sucking stock brokers — though he was, then, still required to handle post-production on The Wolf of Wall Street, an effort that wound up requiring even more time than schedules predicted. Footage had nevertheless been shot, and in this was a portrait of “various current and former writers,” along with “boom mikes [dropping] into clusters of casual cocktail chat.” (And you thought some of the Stratton-Oakmont conversations were shocking?) The why and how merely went unanswered.
But there will be an answer very soon, for Variety inform us the rough iteration of a documentary, credited to Scorsese and David Tedeschi (editor on No Direction Home, Living in the Material World, The Blues, Shine a Light, and Public Speaking), will premiere at Berlinale next month “as a work in progress.” Ambitions sound modest enough — the festival’s director, Dieter Kosslick, says it will “reveal the inner workings of the publication and its legendary editor, from its birth during the 1963 New York Times’ newspaper strike, through its continued relevance in today’s digital universe” — but herein there may exist certain riches: “rare footage and photographs,” though no surprise, we should look forward to, alongside interviews with a variety of writers — Chomsky, Sontag, and Mailer among them. Should the Gods smile upon us, this effort is seen before long.
Now, about a less-certain matter: according to The Daily Mail (via Collider), Wolf producers Joey McFarland and Riza Aziz are claiming the picture, already hefty at three exhausting hours, may go even longer. Although both Scorsese and Schoonmaker have said the film released in theaters is their cut, this other pair now say the Blu-ray will run for one additional hour — i.e., this “mythical” four-hour cut that’s often been discussed and thus led to notices from the aforementioned that, again, what you’ve seen is “their cut” — providing “a lot more of what you’ve already seen,” and in essence “just longer versions of scenes.” (You’ll want to read this interview to understand just how that could be the case.) Enticing, yet one imagines that Scorsese has a final say as to what viewers end up seeing, and as he’s never been at all keen on putting out additional versions — New York, New York is the only film of his with as much — I’ll take their notices, for now, as more of an overzealous public airing of hopes than confirmation. I’d love more Wolf, but why alter what’s perfect? This notice really should wait.
Are you hoping to see how Scorsese and Tedeschi depicted this subject? Does it seem possible we’ll get a longer cut of his latest film?