Edge of Tomorrow was something of a sleeper hit for Tom Cruise that gained a lot of fans thanks to its unique use of time travel. However, if the studio had its way, the film could have turned out very differently. Director Doug Liman says that, at one point, he received a note from the studio asking him if it would be possible to make one minor tweak to the story. Could he possibly just remove the part where the character repeats the same day over and over? According to Liman...
At one point, the studio asked, 'Does he need to repeat the day? Can't he just fight the aliens?' I was like, 'If you want me to direct it, he's gotta repeat the day.'
There are countless stories about studios giving ridiculous notes on ways to "improve" a movie. However, this one seems to be especially nuts. The fact that Tom Cruise's character in Edge of Tomorrow repeats the same day over and over again isn't a side plot, it's the crux of the entire movie. If Doug Liman actually had decided to to take this note to heart, it would have required a complete rewrite of the entire script. Yahoo does not say at what point in the production process the note came through, maybe it was early enough that a massive change to the script was still theoretically possible, but it still would have cost the studio a lot of money, which is something studios don't usually like.
Of course, the use of the story element where Tom Cruise repeats the same day is actually the thing that helped Edge of Tomorrow stand out as a movie and kept it from being a story where Tom Cruise just fights aliens. It's completely understandable how a movie where Tom Cruise just fights aliens would be attractive to the studio, it's a simple, and easy to market, premise. The bit where Tom Cruise gets covered in alien ichor and begins to repeat the same day is a bit tougher to put on a poster.
Luckily, Doug Liman stood firm on the need for the repeating the day to stay in the film and we got a great piece of science fiction. The sequel to Edge of Tomorrow, currently going by the title Live, Die, Repeat and Repeat, is moving closer and closer to becoming a reality. Liman has been singing the praises of the sequel's story for quite some time, promising something even more unique than the original film. If it's truly that original a story, we're guessing it probably received more than its share of studio notes as well.
Doug Liman's newest film, also with Tom Cruise, American Made, opens in theaters next week.