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Extras May Steal the Show On <i>Bandits</i> DVD

1 Feb, 2002 By: Fred Topel

When MGM Home Entertainment's Bandits hits shelves April 2, DVD viewers will be treated to all the usual special features, including deleted scenes and commentary, but director Barry Levinson has a special treat planned as well -- an examination of the evolution of a scene.

Levinson explores "Scene 71," featuring bandit Joe Blake (Bruce Willis) and hostage Kate Wheeler (Cate Blanchett) sharing a bed with a blanket hung between them. The script was always written for the scene to be a major romantic moment, but the final screen version ended up differently than written.

"We're going to show how a scene develops from what was initially written to some mistakes that happen and how it evolved into a sequence," Levinson said. "The scene with the blanket separating the two of them basically evolved out of the blanket falling down. When it fell down, that was for real and so that whole scene developed because the blanket fell down."

Writer Harley Peyton agreed with Levinson's choice to use that scene. In addition to the blanket element, Peyton acknowledged the actors' contributions to their characters' dialogue.

"That's a good [scene] to do, because that's one that I'm very proud of in the script but it's also 30 percent different," Peyton said. "It's not so much that they changed lines, as added lines, so they'd do a lot of improve in the early rehearsals and then by the time they shot, they'd keep the stuff that worked the best. In this particular case, all the early stuff was mine except for the Bonnie Tyler song, which was Cate's idea. But then Bruce does this whole great wildfire and the horse [speech]. That was all Bruce. That scene really evolved quite a bit because they had the template but it needed that 30 percent."

Levinson feels the DVD will satisfy the increasing amount of customers interested in what he calls "peripheral information."

"I think we're more involved and interested in movies on a lot of different levels, and people at home can play around and see different things other than just the movie," Levinson said. "The technology allows for so much information that you can find different things to show an audience so they can watch the movie or watch the discussions about how things happen and the mechanics of it."

Levinson said the DVD deleted scenes are good scenes that just took the movie too far off track. Levinson also said that audio commentary is one aspect of DVD production in which he participates reluctantly.

"I don't like to talk about a movie much," Levinson said. "I don't like to explain. It's a little bit like saying, if you look at a painting, ‘Why do we have a red dot there?' You have a reason that you do it and somebody either gets it or doesn't get it,or gets it afterward."

Levinson compared the audio commentary recording process to "[the] same way that an actor sometimes has to get up and do a scene when they're not feeling well. It's what we do. You've got to get up and go do your work. It's part of your job."

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