Damn, it’s cold in here

Hey all

Jeff Wells’ new column has some Cold Mountain news, which you might be interested in.

I wrote COLD MOUNTAIN producer Sydney Pollack on Tuesday to learn about (a) how his film was faring in research screenings and (b) what running time his and Anthony Mingella’s Civil War romance might have when it reaches theatres in December. Here’s what he wrote back:

“I don’t know what the ‘buzz’ is but here are the absolute facts:

“1. Our first preview was on July 21st in Englewood, New Jersey. The film ran 2 hrs and 55 minutes. The preview scores were the highest I’ve ever seen. That includes any of the 23 films I’ve produced or the 18 films I’ve directed. The theater was full and there were no walkouts.

“2. The second preview was on August 20th, also in Englewood, New Jersey. The film ran 2 hours and 49 minutes. The scores were absolutely identical. There were no walkouts.

“3. The third preview was on August 27th in Charleston, S.C. where we filmed part of the picture. It was the same print as the last preview and the scores were again within a point or two of the previous screenings.

“I’ve just been in London where we’ve made another pass through the film and found both improvements and places to take time out. No one — not Anthony or myself — is resisting looking for places to trim. But the driving goal here is get the film into the best shape possible at whatever time it takes for the film to tell itself. Anthony is continuing work on the film and we have another preview coming up soon.

“Judging purely by audience reaction to the three previews — I haven’t seen or heard anything but what’s positive. I admit to being too close to the film to be objective, but I’ve watched these audiences sit, with rapt attention, through every frame — and fill out the cards in the ‘excellent’ and ‘very good’ boxes. Needless to say I/we at Mirage have been through reactions that scored half as well, including those for THE QUIET AMERICAN. I’m trying to keep this to facts only and avoid offering an opinion, which you would find justifiably suspect. It’s never going to be a film of two hours.”

Sounds promising.

More later this weekend. Oh, and happy Jewish New Year.