The “Cutting Room Floor” is a term that’s used to describe when a particular scene, or more, had been filmed, but not used in the final product. Another accurate term would be “deleted scenes”. I remember a fun thing my brothers and I would do with our movie DVDs was going through the “deleted scenes” section (after we played whatever games were included anyway). The choice to cut a scene after filming it either is because the director decided that it didn’t fit his vision of the film or maybe because the studio/producers didn’t like its inclusion. Sometimes, this was a good choice because the scenes were either unimportant or changed the film in a bad way. Other times, vice versa. Which makes you wonder how different some of your favorite movies would be if they included the full filmed footage (and I don’t just mean in length with how much raw footage was used entirely). Here are some scenes that would have changed their films or characters. (Possible spoilers ahead, Be warned)
In this classic comedy starring Tom Hanks about a simple man who has gone through every experience from the 50’s and onwards, including meeting President Kennedy and fighting in Vietnam, you’d think that any deleted scene would involve another famous meeting that Forest went through. Like maybe he inspired “The Manhattan Project”. No such luck. In the scene where he’s back from Vietnam and goes in front of a huge crowd protesting the war, we see a general secretly pulling the plugs and wires so that the audio would be cut off and nobody would hear him. While this made for a very funny scene, Forest’s actual words were not. What he said was “Sometimes when people go to Vietnam, they go home to their mommas without any legs. Sometimes they don't go home at all. That's a bad thing. That's all I have to say about that.” While this comedy had plenty of dramatic moments to it, this line probably would have gone over the edge.
I think we all need to see what Warner Bros. has kept from us. This comic book adaptation about the government using super villains to save the day had a lot of potential going for it. Just look at the trailers. It had action, comedy, drama, and as I’ve said before, the actors were the perfect choices for their roles. What could go wrong? “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” is what went wrong. Because of the film’s poor reception for being way too serious and not having enough action, the studio was getting worried about “Suicide Squad”’s reception and stepped in to make some changes. What they did was slightly change the story, added a few jokes, and took out almost every scene with the Joker. Those scenes would have changed the film’s story and characters, and would have especially brought Jared Leto’s hard work developing the character of the Joker to fruition. For all of you comic book lovers out there (hi!) this also would have included the Joker abusing Harley like we all know he should have been doing. Damn you, Zack Snyder.
“I Am Legend”
This Will Smith movie was about the last human man living in New York City, sending out radio messages and looking for a cure to a violent disease that turned the city’s inhabitants into nocturnal monsters. More than just a zombie flick, this film was more about being alone during the apocalypse and what it does to a man’s mind. The film’s ending however, is where it lost focus. In the film’s ending, Smith finds a cure through one of the monsters that he abducted and was experimenting on in his basement laboratory (not sure how a cop becomes certified in chemistry with nobody there to teach him, but whatever). During this time, the monsters are trashing his house and trying to break through his panic room. As a last ditch effort, he hands the cure over to human people that found him and tells them to run with it, and blows up the house in sacrifice, letting the cure out into the world. As happy as this was, it felt kind of sappy in comparison with the rest of the film. The original ending was that the monsters were breaking apart his house just so they could get back the female monster he had strapped down in his lab, once he understood this and freed her, they all left him alone. The point of this was that he was the monster all along, but test audiences convinced the studio that this wasn’t a good ending. How wrong they were.
I don’t know if this would have changed much within the actual storyline, but it may have explained a few things. Early on in the first superhero team up movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and the only successful franchise, looking at you DC), a scene featuring Chris Evans as Captain Steve Rogers was taken out. In this scene, Rogers walks around a changed New York City, looks up old files of his former comrades, and eats lunch alone. This scene’s absence from the film is understandable since nothing much really happens, but it would have added to Steve’s character in being alone in a new world, even though this was also done in the second “Captain America” movie. This scene would have also introduced the apparently not-random waitress that Cap saves during the alien attack later in the movie, and adds a different Stan Lee cameo but I kinda like his cameo the way it is in the film.
In this cult classic comedy about a general gone mad and orders a nuke strike, there are intricate political jokes and jibes everywhere within the film’s characters and story. This isn’t hard to imagine seeing as how most of the nation at the time was getting nervous about nuclear holocaust, and this film put their minds at ease, somewhat. Based on this, however, I’m not sure where the filmmakers were going with this scene when they originally shot it. The film’s ending was just when the ridiculously deranged Dr. Strangelove stands from his wheelchair and the world explodes. The original ending, again i’m not sure where they were going with this, was the war room would erupt in a food fight and the generals and president would throw pies at each others faces. Probably another political satire, but with Kennedy’s death so recent, the filmmakers felt that closing on the president getting hit from all sides was too close to home. So it was dropped.
“The Lion King”
Bet you didn’t see this one coming. Yeah, Disney too. In this famous adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” centered around lions in Africa, we see Simba going up against his evil uncle, Scar (I’m wondering how nobody questioned why a seemingly innocent lion was named “Scar”). In their climatic fight, Simba tosses Scar over the edge to be eaten by the hyenas Scar mistreated. However, this wasn’t their initial movie ending. Originally, Scar would throw Simba into the flames below and would be save last minute by a branch. Scar would be too distracted to see the flames coming for him and would be burned alive. Disney felt that this would have been too dark for a children’s film so they pulled it out. Based on their work so far today, I’m not really sure how different this would have been from their more recent villain deaths, like dragging a witch doctor to Hell.