- Director Peter Chelsom told Insider that Harvey Weinstein demanded the Twin Towers be erased.
- The movie opened less than a month after the 9/11 attacks.
- “In hindsight, I really do wish we had not taken them out,” Chelsom said.
20 years after the release of “Serendipity,” Peter Chelsom has countless fond memories from the making of what is now considered by many to be one of the best romantic comedies from the early 2000s.
But there is one major regret Chelsom has: digitally erasing the Twin Towers from the movie.
“Serendipity,” which stars Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack as strangers who let fate decide if they will ever meet again after a night out in New York City, came out less than a month after the horrific September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. According to Chelsom, it was decided by then-Miramax Films head, Harvey Weinstein, who released the movie, to take them out.
“I personally regret taking out the Twin Towers,” Chelsom told Insider for an interview celebrating the movie’s 20th anniversary.
The director said that less than a month before the movie’s October 5 release date in theaters he got word that Weinstein wanted the towers out of the movie and the director “got the impression that it was not negotiable.”
“I remember there being a big scramble to take it out,” said Chelsom, who oversaw the process of the towers being erased.
He said the towers were taken out of an aerial shot of New York City that’s in the middle of the movie. It didn’t affect the story, but looking back Chelsom feels it takes away from the theme.
“The movie was a love letter to New York and it would be all the more so if they remained,” he said. “But there was no discussion to be had with Harvey about this.”
Regarding the Twin Towers being taken out of the movie, Weinstein told Insider in a statement through his spokesperson, Juda Engelmayer: “Peter Chelsom made his best movies working for me and everybody agreed that taking out the Twin Towers around 9/11 was the right idea and the most respectful thing to do.”
“Serendipity” would not be the only movie to take out the Twin Towers at that time. The most famous was a teaser trailer for the 2002 movie “Spider-Man” that was released just before the attacks. It featured a scene in which Spider-Man captured a helicopter full of bad guys by slinging a web between the Twin Towers. It also had a shot of the towers reflected on the eyes of Spidey’s mask. That spot was pulled. But in 2019 it was restored by fans who put it online.
“I was very mixed about it,” said Chelsom about the decision to take them out of “Serendipity.” “In hindsight, I really do wish we had not taken them out.”