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Martin Scorsese Advised Billy Bob Thornton to Not Cut Down Sling Blade


-Obviously, “Sling Blade” was —
I feel that’s how you were introduced
to a lot of people. And you directed that.
And you wrote it. You won an Oscar for it.
And you talked to — [ Cheers and applause ] -Thank you very much. -Martin Scorsese.
You talked to him after you’d filmed it? -Yes, Scorsese was a fan
of “One False Move.” And I had met him somehow,
you know, in L.A. at some event or whatever,
and he said, “Well, you know, I really like this movie.” He said, “I think
you’re going to do okay. If you ever need anything,
let me know.” Well, cut to a few years later, the studio wanted me
to cut “Sling Blade” — The way it came out,
it was 2 hours 17 minutes long. And they wanted me to cut it to like an hour and a half
or whatever it was. You know, the usual thing. So I called up Martin Scorsese,
you know? And I said to the person who
worked for him at the time, I said, “Listen, he told me
if I ever needed anything. I’d like him to watch
this movie I made.” I said, “Now,
nothing’s done to it yet. It’s only got
temporary music in it,” and all this kind of thing. And so, anyway,
she got him on the phone. And I said, “You told me
if I ever needed anything, and if you’d watch this movie, and if you think it should be
cut, I would listen to you. But I just want to know your
opinion before I do anything.” Because I had final cut from
the people that financed it. And he didn’t call back
for a while, but then a couple weeks later, the lady who ran his company
called me and said, “Yeah, Marty wants
to say hello to you.” And he said to me,
“Don’t cut a frame of it.” And he said,
“I like the movie a lot, but the reason
I’m telling you this has nothing to do with that. It’s because right now
you’re under the radar. And if you ever want
to make a movie that’s exactly the way you
want to make it, now’s the time. Because once you become known — and you will be known
from this — they’ll never
leave you alone again.” -That’s fantastic.
-And he was right. -Yeah. That’s amazing advice.
-He was totally right. [ Cheers and applause ] -You — So you win
an Oscar for that. And then you were nominated
for “A Simple Plan.” -“Simple Plan.”
-What do you — You did not win that night. What do you remember
from the night? -I was so pissed off, Seth.
-Yeah, yeah, I bet. -No, I — No, I —
[ Laughs ] No, I — What I remember
about it was that the award — It was for Supporting Actor.
And it was won by James Coburn. -Oh, yeah.
-Who I loved as a kid. You know, I watched “Our Man.” -From that Nolte movie.
The Nick Nolte movie. -Exactly. “Affliction.” And, I mean,
he was a hero of mine. I used to watch
the “Our Man Flint” movies. I thought he was
the coolest cat in the world. And they asked me after
the thing, it’s like, “Well, how disappointed
are you?” I said, “The fact
that I’m in a category with a guy like James Coburn and I get to shake his hand
and congratulate him. Are you kidding me?”
I mean, it was really amazing. And the fact that you’re ever,
you know — Well, the fact that I don’t
still work at a sawmill is pretty astounding,
so I’m okay. -Oh, we’re all
beneficiaries of that. Billy Bob Thornton, everybody.

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