There was a great deal of hype going into the TIFF world premiere of Outlaw King, the new historical drama from Hell or High Water director David Mackenzie. That buzz was quickly muted once the reviews started rolling out, though, as the reaction was mixed with most of the praise reserved for star Chris Pine. With the film now headed to the London Film Festival, Mackenzie has taken the initiative and cut 20 minutes out of the eventual Netflix release.
Mackenzie told Deadline that he’s chopped 20 minutes from the 137-minute epic about Robert the Bruce, not because anybody told him to. Instead, he says he sat in on the premiere and could tell by the audience reaction that something wasn’t working…
“I could feel what the audience was like in the theater,” says Mackenzie. “I’m sensitive to the way they felt.”
So Mackenzie decided, just three days after that initial screening, to re-edit the movie rather than sit back and let it get torn apart. Currently Outlaw King sits at 41% on Rotten Tomatoes. As for what got removed, Mackenzie doesn’t go into details but he cut scenes that “weren’t helping the story move along” in the first and third acts. “The play-ability is better now and the access to the characters,” he says.
The initial cut of the movie was considerably longer, coming close to four hours, and Mazkenzie thinks he could easily take all of that material and go in a totally different direction with it…
“I’m sure if I had the appetite, I could do a three-part mini-series as there’s lots of characters, lots of history, but the name of the game is to make an entertaining narrative-driven film with great performances; you have to whittle down, it’s a hard game especially when there’s so much history to put in.”
Outlaw King hits Netflix on November 9th, and don’t worry, Chris Pine’s nude scene was not left on the cutting room floor.