Deliverance (Director’s Cut)
Boorman had always understood the pivotal role of the character Little Gary in James Dickey’s story. It was the short-sightedness of Warner Brothers that caused the exclusion of Gary in the final edit. Even though principal photography had been completed, studio head Ted Ashley, after seeing a rough cut, demanded the removal of Little Gary. In an era before digital effects it was no small feat to remove a central character from a film, but as hard as he fought, Boorman was eventually forced to make the change or lose the film. After radical edits and some re-shoots, Boorman wrapped the cut in brown butcher’s paper and dropped it on Ashley’s desk, saying, “Tell the butcher his order is ready.”
Lynn Stalmaster reportedly told Little Gary before the release of the film “you may be a splinter now, but when people see your work in this movie, you’re going to be a sequoia!” With his part erased, Stalmaster’s prediction would not come to pass and Gary’s career stalled with only a few television parts to his credit before his disappearance in a 1981 Topanga Canyon bonfire.
A big thank you to research assistant Kyle McCulloch!