'The Current War' With Benedict Cumberbatch And Michael Shannon Is Finally Hitting Theaters

Damn, remember The Current War? There was a lot of electricity (pun intended) behind the film about inventors Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, played by the stellar duo of Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon. That was before the film was rushed for debut at TIFF a couple of years ago and the reaction was about as low wattage as it gets. Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon complained the cut shown wasn't of his approval, and when Harvey Weinstein got involved things only got worse. The film got shelved and has been in limbo ever since.

Deadline reports the wait for The Current War's release is finally over, now that distributor Upstart 101 Studios has stepped in. A new cut by Gomez-Rejon clocks in at 10 minutes shorter is expected to get a wide release. There's some legalese involving exec-producer Martin Scorsese that makes this whole thing possible, but the point is that a movie many expected to be an Oscar contender will finally be made available.

For those who may have forgotten, The Current War follows the rivalry between Edison and Westinghouse to see who could create a stable electric current to power the future. Nicholas Hoult co-stars as Nikola Tesla, with Katherine Waterston and Tom Holland co-starring.

Gomez-Rejon talks about the night he saw the ill-fated cut at TIFF and his reaction, as well as what went into the latest version under his full control...

“I didn’t know what rock bottom was until that moment. I was completely shattered by one screening I knew I wasn’t ready for.”

“Everything missing is there now, including the right pacing that escalates the tension between these two men. The heart of the film is restored: Edison’s relationship with his wife, and the explanation of her fatal illness and what it did to him. You feel her loss deeply and it carries you through as he goes to a dark side without her there to humanize his ambition. Westinghouse has been humanized without making him a saint, and there are now layers and complicated performances so that instead of spoon-fed emotion, everything is earned.”

“The music heightens the tensions of their war. There are new scenes with Tesla, who was never meant to be a lead character but now you see his genius and vulnerability. He doesn’t feel forgotten in this movie, and he gives heart and clarity to the clash between these two men and what drives them to go to such dark places.”