By now, you’ve probably heard the story surrounding the fact that someone, somewhere, released an illegally pirated full work-print of X-Men Origins: Wolverine online in nearly DVD quality, which has prompted an FBI investigation into the source of the leak, and a lot of declarations from 20th Century Fox that they will find whoever did this, whoever downloaded it and whoever was even told about it and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. Despite some of the overstated threats, there is a legitimate panic about how this disaster is going to affect the box office of one of Fox’s only really good tentpole franchises, although many of the big movie-fan sites have been decrying this act of piracy, and I’ve personally not said anything about it, figuring the less coverage it got, the less people would seek out the pirated copy, and the less damage done.
I mention it now because Fox Chairman Tom Rothman is making a public effort to make people realize the leaked version is definitely not the final product, and it’ll be good to spread that message around. “The version that went out is unfinished. It’s about 10 minutes shorter, doesn’t have key scenes, it wasn’t edited, and none of the effects shots were in any remotely final form,” Rothman said. “It’s a complete misrepresentation of the film and is deeply unfair to the people who have worked on it for years.”
Furthermore, Rothman says that the fanboy hero and star of the film, the lovely and talented Hugh Jackman, has been “heartbroken and hurt” by the news of this leak. “He’s lived with this thing for 10 years. But he’s also a man and knows that life isn’t fair, and is more determined than ever,” Rothman said. “Hugh and I exchanged e-mails: Basically, we’re not going to let the bastards win. But we didn’t use the word ‘bastards.’ That’s a slightly sanitized version.”
Some of the footage missing is likely the same footage that initially rumored to be ‘reshoots’ and thus spawned talk that the film was in trouble. Those involved said the late work was actually planned around Ryan Reynolds’ schedule, who is playing a wisecracking mercenary named Wade Wilson who is eventually transformed into a scarred-up monster they’re calling Deadpool. As much as I want to talk in detail and at great length about the spoilers I’ve been told about their interpretation of one of my favorite comic characters, I will restrain myself until next month. Hopefully, the “alpha fans” who would download this early are the same fans who realize how important it is that movies in their favorite genre make enough money to justify more of them (and, in some cases, eventual revamps that make amends for what was done to their favorite characters in their first cinematic appearances).
Producer John Palermo is going further by reportedly saying that the leaked version is not only several months old, but is also the version of the film that was disliked internally, prompting a lot of costly reshoots to change things around, and the current version of the film runs 20 minutes longer than the pirated copy. Who’s right and who’s blowing smoke? Who knows, but hey, confusion and curiosity as to what’s in the finished film and what’s not can only benefit the filmmakers.
If you don’t want to believe Fox’s spin (which is likely just that, considering as how they’re apparently not prosecuting Roger Friedman for downloading the film and saying he loved it), just think about how nice a guy Hugh Jackman is, and how devoted he is to the hardcore fans to whom he knows he owes his career. He’s a great Wolverine, and I’ll be there watching this movie when it opens to encourage him to be Wolverine for as long as he can.