Rumors swirled (and continue to swirl) around Factory Girl, the Weinstein Co movie about Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol that I reviewed here last week. Director George Hickenlooper was recently in New York City for a Factory Girl press day, and he addressed some of these rumors.
The biggest rumor about Factory Girl was that it was in trouble. The movie was aimed at an Oscar qualifying run, but Hickenlooper et al were shooting pages of new material just weeks before the release date. Hickenlooper insists these weren’t reshoots. “Additional shoots,” he said. “There’s a difference. Re-shoots implies the film has problems. To make a long story short, it was a very difficult film to finance… We were supposed to raise 8 million, then they kept cutting the budget and cutting the budget, to under 7 million, so I had to cut pages out and we had to cut vital scenes. It was always our intention to go back and come to New York, it was ‘When are we going to do that?’”
Harvey Weinstein buying the film made it feasible for Hickenlooper and his crew, who had shot most of the film in Louisiana, to do location shots in New York City, where the film is set. Once they got to the city, though, the additional shoot ballooned. “We had those ten or fifteen pages we wanted to shoot, and Guy had ideas, Sienna had ideas, I had ideas, Harvey certainly had ideas, and those ten pages turned into thirty-five pages. Guy had to become available, Sienna had other movies, and they weren’t available until October.”
Shooting in October meant a crunch in post-production. “There was a time issue — we didn’t wrap until December 12. We had a week to cut,” Hickenlooper said. That week also became laden with rumors, as people reported that Harvey Weinstein had taken over the editing process, a claim Hickenlooper denies. “[I]t was very much a collaborative effort, certainly. Harvey – it was all in a great spirit of collaboration. There was nothing antagonistic. Harvey has a reputation for being Harvey Scissorhands, but in this case, we really felt he was very passionate about the project. He was very supportive of Guy, very supportive of Sienna, very supportive of me, and we had four editors working around the clock, literally twenty hour days, they didn’t sleep at all for three weeks, but we just ran out of time.”
Running out of time put Hickenlooper et al in a weird position – they ended up showing different cuts to people depending on the day of the week. “The cut we showed the National Board of Review was completely different from the cut we showed the Academy, which we didn’t get to the Academy until three days before voting close. We just ran out of time. We could have waited, but the perception would be ‘Oh boy…what’s going on guys? Where’s Factory Girl? When in fact, we were simply filmmakers making a film under an incredible deadline.”
Of course the rumors that were addressed were just the ones that we had heard at that point. After the press day a new rumor arose – although it feels like a rumor that comes from inhouse rather than from out of it – that the sex scenes between Sienna Miller and Hayden Christensen were not exactly simulated. That certainly makes for the kind of rumor that would draw people to the theaters.
Factory Girl is now playing in limited release. There’s no word on whether any of the alternate cuts will ever see the light of day.