Harvey Weinstein is notorious for a number of reasons. Obviously, being a convicted rapist brings its own infamy, but before he was brought up on charges of sexual assault and the poster boy for the #MeToo movement, the Hollywood studio mogul was perhaps better known for being a completely difficult business partner and creative collaborator. And you may not find a better explanation of this than what apparently happened between Weinstein and acclaimed animated filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki over edits to “Princess Mononoke.”
Back in the late-‘90s, Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax Films was set to be the distributor of Miyazaki’s latest work, “Princess Mononoke.” However, the studio head saw the 135-minute film and thought it was entirely too long, requesting that it get cut down to 90 minutes. This came after a reported agreement between Miyazaki and Miramax which said that the film would be released as it was and wouldn’t be cut at all.
According to a new memoir (via Cartoon Brew) from Steve Alpert, who worked in Studio Ghibli’s international division at the time, when Miyazaki refused Weinstein’s request to cut “Princess Mononoke,” the Miramax boss was incredibly mad.
Alpert claims that Weinstein became upset and told him, “If you don’t get him to cut the fucking film you will NEVER WORK IN THIS FUCKING INDUSTRY AGAIN! DO YOU FUCKING UNDERSTAND ME?!! NEVER!!”
Of course, Miyazaki didn’t listen to Weinstein’s, errr, advice and decided to proceed with the longer cut. Obviously, fans of “Princess Mononoke” are happy that Harvey Scissorhands (as he’s commonly referred to when he’s not called a convicted rapist) didn’t win the battle.
We can now add this story to the huge list of stories of Weinstein attempting to strong-arm filmmakers into making cuts to their projects without their consent. This happened previously with Bong Joon Ho during the post-production on “Snowpiercer,” as well as with director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon for “The Current War,” just to name a couple.
You can now stream “Princess Mononoke,” in addition to many of the other Studio Ghibli films as part of the recently launched HBO Max.