It’s a small, powerful scene in Crazy Heart: When Jeff Bridge’s Bad Blake, a whiskey-soaked itinerant troubadour, telephones his estranged son, a son he’s never known, to try to meet up and make amends. The voice on the other end is cold, unsympathetic. A reunion isn’t likely.
“At one time, Heath Ledger was going to play the son,” says Scott Cooper, Crazy Heart’s writer and director, in a recent interview. “Obviously, that didn’t happen.” (Colin Farrell, however, does show up in another, uncredited role.) But there was a scene that Cooper shot with Bridges and a local Texas actor in the part that was to have gone to Ledger. Despite, or perhaps because of, that chilly refusal on the phone, Bad Blake heads to Marfa, Texas, and tracks down his estranged progeny. “It’s a powerful moment, but I didn’t have final cut, and there were folks who said we should cut it -- that all of the information was there in the phone call scene.”
Cooper cites William Faulkner’s famous line about giving up the characters and story elements that an author loves beyond reason: “You have to kill your darlings is what Faulkner said. And you have to do that in film, too.”
But then Faulkner didn't have DVD extras.