In a new interview with Vanity Fair,Damon Lindelof opens up about how he was brought in after the fact to help rework the final act, which resulted in a massive reshoot and a full rewrite of the ending and several other late scenes. Lindelof described the original cut as “abrupt and incoherent” and said it was “missing a large chunk of footage.” Well, that’s not good.
That’s why star Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster brought Lindelof in to have a fresh set of eyes. Here’s Lindelof’s recollection of what Pitt told him when he was hired:
“‘But when we started working on the script, a lot of that stuff had to fall away for the story to come together. We started shooting the thing before we locked down how it was going to end up, and it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to. The thing we really need right now is someone who is not burdened by all the history that this thing is inheriting, who can see what we’ve got and tell us how to get to where we need to get.”
After watching a rough cut of the film, Lindelof said he had two ideas to make it better: try to write around what’s already there, to give it context, or scrap a whole chunk of the movie and try something else. Turns out the film was in such a mess that they went with the second route, cutting 12+ minutes and reshooting approximately 40 minutes of footage while dropping a huge Russian battle scene:
“I said to them, There are two roads to go down here. Is there material that can be written to make that stuff work better? To have it make sense? To have it have emotional stakes? And plot logic and all that? And Road Two, which I think is the long-shot road, is that everything changes after Brad leaves Israel. I didn’t think anyone was going to say, ‘Let’s throw it out and try something else.’ So when I gave them those two roads and they sounded more interested in Road B, I was like, ‘To be honest with you, good luck selling that to Paramount.’”