In 1998, director Tony Kaye battled New Line Cinema over the release of American History X. Dissatisfied with the studio’s meddling in his artistic vision, the theatrical cut was largely credited to Edward Norton. Nearly 10 years later, New Line is actually willing to revisit Kaye’s vision.
“New Line did come to me a couple years ago and were very interested to release the director’s cut and would I be so kind,” said Kaye. “So I said there is a film called Humpty Dumpty that I made. I documented my fight, not from the very beginning but from the time that I went to the Toronto Film Festival in 1998 and had the film pulled from the festival. They’re going to release that film next year which is a documentary film.”
The actual “cut” of Kaye’s version no longer exists, but the documentary will convey what he would have done. “In a way, that’s what American History X might have been. My director’s cut, what I was fighting for, doesn’t exist but in the film, in Humpty Dumpty, I explain kind of what I was trying to do back then. I would do it now if there was a call for it but it would take a budget and all kinds of time. I don’t think New Line would be so keen to do that.”
They are, however, supportive of Kaye’s documentary, warts and all. “They’ve been great about it.”
Tony Kaye’s latest film — Lake of Fire, an abortion documentary 15 years in the making — is currently out in limited release.