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Bugsy: Extended Cut special features
Anyone who's heard how intense (or perhaps the word is "torturous") it can be to make a film with Warren Beatty will be captivated by the behind-the-scenes extras on the Bugsy: Extended Cut DVD. The highlight is the chat among screenwriter James Toback, director Barry Levinson, and star and co-producer Beatty on how the project and the final film came to be. Tellingly, Beatty is sitting quite apart from the other two, though they're in a semi-circular banquette at Perino's in Los Angeles.
The conversation starts out slowly, with Toback, a genial blowhard, talking about losing the original script, but it picks up steam when the topic turns to the casting of the excellent actors in the film, including Sir Ben Kingsley and Elliott Gould, who also participate. And of course the most interesting off-screen component of the project--Beatty meeting his future wife, costar Annette Bening--is given a fun spotlight in the film. Levinson remembers that after meeting Bening for the first time, Beatty called him enthusiastically saying, "She's great, I love her, I'm going to marry her" ("you know, just a throwaway line," Levinson says, laughing), and Toback and Levinson and Bening herself talk about the signs the two were slowly falling in love. It's as dishy as anything you're likely to see about the notoriously private Beatty, and well worth the investment.
Other extras include several deleted scenes that are now included in the film (and unlike many other "extended cut" releases, actually enhance the depth of the story). One is a harrowing scene in which Bugsy contemplates, and nearly commits, suicide, via Russian roulette. Another is an amusing screen test that Siegal takes, thinking his roguish charm will translate to the big screen. Though it takes Beatty's considerable talents to make that happen, the earnestness of Siegal's outsider character is touching in glimpses like this. --A.T. Hurley
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