"The Current War," starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison, Nicholas Hoult as Nikola Tesla and Michael Shannon as George Westinghouse, is finally seeing the light of the day.
The film had an disastrous debut at the Toronto Film Fest in 2017 and never saw a theatrical release due to the collapse of The Weinstein Company.
Now, with a new cut and a new distributor, 101 Studios, the film will be hitting theaters this August.
As director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon told Deadline, "It had been accepted to Toronto based on an early cut and then came the rush to finish in time. I knew in my heart, and every fiber of my body was saying, it’s not ready... We rushed the mix, ADR, sound." He said he came out of the festival feeling, "like an idiot. I went in fearless and then suddenly you realize you are a casualty, a footnote."
Then Harvey Weinstein (who used to be dubbed "Harvey Scissorhands" for his penchant for drastically cutting films), came up with his own edit. If not for the scandalous revelations that ended Weinstein's career and caused the demise of his company, the film would have been released with Weinstein's more drastic edit.
Instead, with bad scenes trimmed, a new score, and some new footage -- not to mention 101 Studios paying off the film's debt -- it's ready to be seen.
"Everything missing is there now, including the right pacing that escalates the tension between these two men," Gomez-Rejon explained. "The heart of the film is restored: Edison’s relationship with his wife (Tuppence Middleton), and the explanation of her fatal illness and what it did to him."
He added that "Westinghouse has been humanized without making him a saint" and that "there are new scenes with Tesla, who was never meant to be a lead character but now you see his genius and vulnerability... he gives heart and clarity to the clash between these two men and what drives them to go to such dark places."
If this all sounds familiar, you know your inventors very well. Or you recently watched the 2010 "Drunk History" episode, which starred John C. Reilly as Tesla and Crispin Glover as Edison battling over AC vs DC current.