Tarantino said the idea to divide the three-hour martial-arts epic was initially suggested by Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein after the mogul visited the set in China, where the filmmaker spent more than five grueling months filming his 200-page script.
Miramax's blessing may come as a surprise to those movie-biz folks who refer to Weinstein as "Harvey Scissorhands," a nickname reflecting the studio czar's penchant for forcing directors not only to slash costs on their films but also running times.
But, according to Miramax's cofounder, there are exceptions to the rule.
"Miramax is the house Quentin Tarantino built," Weinstein told the New York Times on Tuesday, adding that the helmer was given "carte blanche."
Miramax is backing the three-hour martial arts epic to the tune of $55 million, excluding marketing costs--a paltry sum compared to most Hollywood blockbusters, but helped by the movie's Chinese location shoot and accommodating actors, many of whom worked for scale.
This will not make both parts cancel each other out at the upcoming Oscars.
Instead, Vol. 1 of Bill, due out on October 10, will qualify for the upcoming Oscars (to be handed out February 29), and it's concluding installment will be a possible contender for the 2004 Academy Awards, giving Miramax and Tarantino a double shot at taking home the golden guy for the kung-fu epic.
I can't wait.