Harvey Weinstein has earned a double-edged sword of a reputation in Hollywood. On one hand, he's considered a marketing genius, who is especially skilled at getting his releases noticed in award season. On the other hand, he's said to be a deeply stubborn man to do business with. Unfortunately for Grace of Monaco director Olivier Dahan -- according to THR -- the two are now at odds over the final edit of the Nicole Kidman-fronted biopic about Grace Kelly.
Playing Hollywood royalty turned actual royalty in Grace of Monaco, Kidman seemed potentially poised for her fourth Academy Award nomination. However, those expectations were dashed when The Weinstein Company bumped the biopic's opening from the award season-friendly release date of November to next spring. Pressed on the schedule change, distributor Harvey Weinstein told THR the film "just wasn't finished," but Dahan says this is categorically untrue.
The French director who previously helmed the Oscar-winning Edith Piaf biopic La Vie en Rose told the French newspaper Liberation that his edit of the film has been finalized, but TWC is pushing him to sign off on a cut more to their liking. Asked to comment on the Hollywood heavyweight's claim that the film wasn't ready for it's fall deadline, Dahan said:
"It's got hardly anything to do with the film. It's only about the money, the release strategy, millions of dollars and stuff like that. It's got nothing to do with cinema. I mean, of course it's about cinema, but the business side. They want a commercial film smelling of daisies, taking out anything that exceeds that which is too abrupt, everything that makes it cinematic and breathe with life. A lot of things are missing."
But this isn't your typical dispute between a director and his distributor, or as Dahan sees it art and commerce. Dahan had some strong words to describe just how heated this creative debate has become, saying:
"It's right to struggle, but when you confront an American distributor like Weinstein, not to name names, there is not much you can do. Either you say 'Go figure it out with your pile of shit' or you brace yourself so the blackmail isn't as violent … If I don't sign, that's where the out-and-out blackmail starts, but I could go that far. There are two versions of the film for now: mine and his … which I find catastrophic."
What Dahan means by blackmail is unclear, and The Weinstein Company has chosen not to comment on his claims. However, while they bumped his American release, Dahan says the battle for Grace of Monaco isn't over. He explains:
"The film that I am in the process of finishing is complicated to finalize, although actually, for me, it is finished. What's complicated at the moment is ensuring that you, the critics, can review my version of the film and not that of somebody else. It's not over yet. I haven't given up."
Grace of Monaco is slated to hit theaters in the US and UK on March 14th, 2014.