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Donaldson Says <I>Recruit</I> DVD Protects Film's Secrets

19 Apr, 2003 By: Fred Topel

When he made the CIA thriller The Recruit, director Roger Donaldson toyed with several endings. However, he will not be sharing any of the unused finales on the DVD, which comes to video from Buena Vista Home Entertainment May 27, priced at $29.99 DVD, $24 VHS.

“The way a film ends, for me, is important,” Donaldson said. “To me, there was no other end in my vision of what this film could be.”

There will, however, be several deleted scenes, things omitted from the film that would not ultimately have changed how it ended.

“These deleted scenes were very much a part of my vision of what would be in the movie, so when they came out, they felt like they were part of the story, and this is what got honed down to the final thing.”

The film, which took in $52 million at the box office, stars Colin Farrell as a CIA trainee, mentored by a veteran agent (Al Pacino) in the secret training facility known as The Farm. Through training and field exercises, the trainee questions his instructors and colleagues, trying to figure out what is real in the world of espionage.

Most of the cuts were made because they felt redundant when incorporated with the main story, Donaldson said.

“When you're working with the script ... people argue about every word. Suddenly you've shot the scene and you cut it all together and you go, ‘But, I've got that. I don't need that scene to follow the story.' That sort of thing happens. There are some scenes that ultimately became irrelevant to the telling of the story.”

Donaldson recorded his commentary track with Farrell. He said he wanted to make the audio track “something that's worth listening to,” he said. “You know, give a little insight into what's happening. It's like [an interview] environment. You ask questions and you try and let the audience know a little bit more of how the film came to be, or how you came to be involved, or funny things that happened, or just try to make it a bit more anecdotal so there's something more to be gained out of it.”

One such funny moment may or may not be included on the disc. Donaldson recalled one take where Farrell revealed a bit too much.

“It's a little risqu?. It was a scene where Colin phones Bridget [Moynahan]'s room before he goes to it and he's on the phone, feeling bad about what he's about to do. And this scene had gone beautifully, and there's a real close up shot of Colin. I was right in there on his face and the plan is that he will stand up into the frame, get his coat and sort of walk out of the frame. I'm there, and I get very intense, I get right into my playback monitor, and I'm watching every nuance. It always seems to go in slow motion. I see every subtle detail and it's gone perfect this take, and I'm probably smiling. He stands up and I go, ‘Oh my God. His ass is bare.' He's got no trousers on.”

We'll have to wait and see what shows up when The Recruit comes to home video.

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