Why Brad Pitt's Early Film 'Johnny Suede' Was Reworked

 Miramax/Courtesy Everett Collection

This story first appeared in the Aug. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Director Tom DiCillo, who fought to cast then-unknown hunk Brad Pitt in his first star part as a rockabilly-obsessed musician in 1991's Johnny Suede, hit the ceiling March 29 when he noticed on Netflix that eight minutes of music by Link Wray, the pioneering '50s guitarist, was cut. It turned out that Miramax had forgone clearing the rights when it made its streaming agreement. "I was furious, but Netflix and Miramax were highly receptive to helping me," says DiCillo.

Miramax director of servicing and delivery Ryan Sosa sorted out the rights, and DiCillo even got to re-edit the film, trimming seven minutes and a narrative voiceover that had been added by Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein. "It's distilled and improves the film so much," says DiCillo. Netflix plans to add it later in August.

"Cool!" said Weinstein when told the news. "I love that movie. I didn't discover Brad Pitt; Tom DiCillo did." (Actually, Ridley Scott had cast Pitt in Thelma & Louise, but it hadn't been released yet, so Pitt's abs were unknown when DiCillo cast him.) How does Weinstein feel about the new, VO-less Johnny Suede? "I'm looking forward to it."

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