picture from Impact (UK), Janvier 1996
picture from Starbase, Vol. 1 n°33, 1995
With more than a year of post-production Johnny Mnemonic was reedited again and again, Dolph Lundgren's brilliant (and solely acclaimed by the critics) Preacher role being the first victim of it.
"[Johnny] Mnemonic was supposed to show his range; alas, his big monologue was cut." Beth Pinsker, Entertainment Weekly, n°279, 16 June 1995
"I don't know why, but I always liked kind of pervers characters like the Street Preacher! They're characters coming from "The Beggar's Opera", likeable bad guys with great sense of humour. A kind of humour that suited Dolph Lundgren's personality well. After we found his caustic irony, he imposed from himself for the role of Street Preacher."
"It's a shame we had to cut one sermon of Dolph Lundgren, Street Preacher, who vehemently condemned the malice of technology, its satanic hold. The scene was deleted from the final cut for a matter of rythm ; it seems it slowed the film down ! Again it's a pity because it parody of religion which sees the Great Satan in computers ! The Johnny Mnemonic we had in mind was much slower than the one you know. Now it's a compromise between pure action and science-fiction. When Speed was released, around the end of filming, we had the star of one of the most profitable action films ever ! Then Robert Longo and I had to fight against producers who wanted more stunts and gunfights. They even tried to impose us a chase sequence in bus ! At the begining, Johnny Mnemonic wasn't the film that marketing is now selling like a Speed sequel. It was entirely re-edited to speed up the tempo, eliminate dialogues for action. When I look at this other Johnny Mnemonic, I see the traces of darker movie, more poetic, more literary in a sense." William Gibson in Mad Movies, n°58, November 1995 (translated from already translated French)
"In 1989, we wanted to make a little black and white movie for a million dollar. In 1993, we didn't found one million dollar but 26 millions dollars."
"We often asked ourselves with William Gibson if we had to leave this fucking film or try to make with the bad ideas from the production and make them as good as possible. When TriStar took control and eliminated all the intermediares involved, it was clearer. The film's subject is also compromise: for exemple, I would have done a more nihilist version, TriStar insisted on making Johnny-Keanu Reeves likeable." Robert Longo in Libération, 22 November 1995 (translated from translated French)
"Most of the Preacher's sequences didn't survive a pitylessly reducing editing.But the experience turned out to be interesting, breaking off the every day action movies and gauged roles of the blond giant." from Seven Sept Magazine ("The Peacekeeper"), n°1, September 1999 (translated from French)
William Gibson also said later: "I'll tell you something you may not believe: Dolph Lungren can actually do *comedy*. I mean, like, who knew? But he can, and did, with great gusto. The nature of his character was anchored in a scene in his church (he's the local Panawave-equivalent) in which he preaches, buck nekkid and skin-studded with creepy nano-gizmos, to a congragation of adoring female NAS victims. He delivers a bombastic, faux-Sterlingesque, literally balls-out *sermon* on the virtues of posthumanity. It came off sort of like Fabio as the Jesus you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. It *rocked*. Hilarious. So Sony cut it.
They cut it out of fear of offending the religious right. No kidding. They actually told me that. That's the sort of thing I mean when I say the JM you see is not the movie we shot.
[JM as I wrote it, and Longo shot it, is only available as the published screenplay (but quite readily available as that). I only agreed to publish it, in the first place, because I wanted to be in the position to demonstrate the difference between what I wrote, and we shot, and what they released. I doubt there's even a remote possibility of there ever being a restored "director's cut", although the Japanese version of the DVD is a little closer to our intention.]" from Wiilliam Gibson official site, May 10, 2003
"DRE: What happened with Johnny Mnemonic? I blame Dolph Lundgren.
Oh no [laughs]. I would blame Sony Pictures Imageworks. Nobody
got to see the film that Robert Longo shot. Longo shot the script
I wrote which I was happy with. The tragedy with Johnny Mnemonic
is that we shot an ironic broadly comic action film that at some
level was supposed to be about bad science fiction movies. We
were not trying to make a blockbuster mainstream adventure film
starring Keanu Reeves. When we started shooting that film Keanu
wasnt a movie star. Speed came out while we were shooting.
As soon as it was a hit we had guys from the studio coming out
of the woodwork telling us that we shouldnt shoot a funny
movie, wheres the bus? It just got worse from there. We
kept doing what we wanted to do. Keanu and Dolph were both doing
exactly what we told them to do. Sony cut 90 % of Dolphs
role because they said it would offend the religious right. He
doesnt even have a character in the movie they put out.
Hes just this insane caveman who comes rushing in and flinging
people around. It doesnt make any sense. In the film we
shot you get his backstory where he is preaching stark naked
to churches full of women whoa re afflicted with the weird disease
in the movie. He completely got into doing this comic villain
and it just ended up making him look like an idiot. I personally
felt very bad about that because he was doing what he was told
Gibson interviewed on suicidegirls.com