Among the voluminous list of sins that have been placed at the feet of former Hollywood mega producer—and multiply accused sexual harasser and rapist—Harvey Weinstein, screwing with the edit and release of Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer now ranks, objectively, pretty near the bottom. And yet it’s still weirdly galling to learn that Weinstein gathered all that Hollywood power he so thoroughly (allegedly) abused while still being dumb as a rock about movies. Like, did he really think Snowpiercer, one of the weirder sci-fi delights in recent years, needed 25 minutes trimmed from its running time, or to lose a super-cool shot of a masked thug threatening a crowd of people by gutting a fish?
It also makes it strangely satisfying to hear how Bong convinced Weinstein to let him keep said fish-axe-intimidation shot: Bullshit. As in, he straight-up lied to him, as revealed in this profile of the Parasite director that ran over at Vulture this week. Per the interview, Bong reveals that when Weinstein was questioning him about the shot’s inclusion, he had a headache, so rather than explaining it to the man who had control over the film’s U.S. release, he just made up some stuff about his dad.
“Harvey, this shot means something to me,” he told Weinstein after yet another objection. “It’s something personal. My father was a fisherman. I’m dedicating this shot to my father.” Weinstein, according to the story, immediately relented, noting that “Family is the most important.” Bong then gleefully reveals to his interviewer: “It was a fucking lie. My father was not a fisherman.” Later, the director also confirms that the bit in his Netflix-produced movie Okja that takes place in Paramus, New Jersey, is a pointed inside joke about Weinstien; that was where the disastrous edits the producer forced on the film were screened to unimpressed test audiences. (Weinstein eventually gave up on his efforts to cut the film himself, and instead pushed it to a more limited release.)
Of course, the profile isn’t all Weinstein shade; it also goes in-depth on Bong’s style and process, including comments from collaborators like Tilda Swinton and Steven Yeun. You can read the whole thing right here.