Director Carl Rinsch just can't seem to catch a break. Considered to be one of filmmaker Ridley Scott's proteges, Rinsch -- a commercial and short film director -- was originally chosen by Scott to direct his "Alien" prequel "Prometheus." Not a bad first gig. However, 20th Century Fox objected to Scott's choice and Rinsch was eventually replaced by his mentor.
However, in the wake of "Prometheus," the young director seemed to land on his feet, quickly scooping up another directing gig: Universal Studios' "47 Ronin," starring Keanu Reeves. The 3D samurai film is an adaptation of the oft-filmed Japanese tale of 47 warriors out to avenge the death of their master.
The production of "47 Ronin" has allegedly been a troubled one, however, with a ballooning budget and multiple re-shoots resulting in the film's release date being pushed back numerous times.
But it gets worse -- particularly for Rinsch.
According to The Wrap, Universal was not satisfied with what they were seeing (or the fact that the $175 million movie was $50 million over budget) and, with re-shoots completed, studio execs seized control of the film from Rinsch in the editing room. The studio is also said to be halting some visual effects work on the already heavy VFX film and are reportedly adding additional dialogue, a love scene, and more Keanu to the film. (It's probably the first time in movie history that anyone has requested "more Keanu.")
Reeves, who plays a half-Caucasian samurai in the film, leads a mostly Japanese cast that includes Hiroyuki Sanada ("Sunshine"), Rinko Kikuchi ("Babel"), and Tadanobu Asano ("Thor"). Prior to the aforementioned re-shoots, it has been reported that Reeves' character did not figure prominently in the finale of "47 Ronin," a fact that Universal may have believed would limit the film's appeal.
It's unfortunate, but at the same time strangely fitting that the protege of Ridley Scott would be having problems with the studio like this. Scott himself had similar issues early in his career, butting heads with studio executives and producers during the production of movies like "Alien" and "Blade Runner." When a studio gets involved creatively and attempts to dictate the final product like this, the results are rarely good -- see the "happy ending" theatrical version of "Blade Runner" or the abomination that is the studio version of David Lynch's "Dune."
There's no doubt that Rinsch is a visionary filmmaker (check out his mind-blowing short film "The Gift" for proof of that), so it's a real shame that the studio is not letting him see "47 Ronin" through to completion. However, if Rinsch is anything like Scott, chances are we may see a "47 Ronin" director's cut some day. Here's hoping.
"47 Ronin" is currently set for a Christmas 2013 release.