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W. Earl Brown reviews the Deadwood movie, reveals there's 30 minutes of unused footage

Photo: Warrick Page (HBO)

Deadwood’s Dan Dority, the long-haired giant who serves as Al Swearengen’s muscle, is one of the show’s most fascinating characters. Played with a mix of barely contained violence and restrained emotion by W. Earl Brown, Dan stars in some of the most impactful scenes from the original series. Despite his importance to the show, the excellent Deadwood movie, which was faced with the daunting task of concluding the story in a single film, didn’t have a lot of space to give every one of its characters—Dan included—as much screen time as we might’ve liked.

Now that it’s been a few days since it aired, Brown put down some thoughts on Twitter regarding what was cut from the movie, including his own scenes, and how he felt about the decisions that went into making what he describes as “an extraordinary film, worthy of the mass of praise heaped upon it.”

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Right up front he explains that the movie was originally two hours and 20 minutes long, meaning that 30 minutes were shaved off for the final release.

Brown says he understood why his “big scene” had to be cut from the movie, explaining that it had to function differently than the slower, more exploratory pace of the show and that, even though he “loved it as a scene, it wasn’t really needed.”

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The rest of the thread has some other interesting bits about choices made for the movie, like the flashback scenes from the TV show, which Brown says weren’t written by David Milch at first and were unpopular with some of the cast until they were refined into a more “impressionistic way of filling in the blanks.”

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As for whether or not we’ll ever see the original, longer cut or the scenes removed from the HBO release, Brown doubts it, but hedges his bets by saying he “doubted we’d ever make a movie, so what do I know?”

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About the author

Reid McCarter

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.