The City of God director cut out an expensive thriller sequence shot he spent weeks filming in Manitoba, Canada, among other scenes because he feared it would wreck what he thought was a beautiful romance.
Meirelles explains, "My first cut was three hours, and from that, it could have been a more thriller-like film, or it could have been a political drama with more information.
"But the strongest element was the love story. So, after watching the whole thing, I decided to trim the other two parts of the story and keep the love story as the axle."
In the film - adapted from John Le Carre's spy thriller - Fiennes plays a civil servant forced to shake off his mild mannered ways to avenge his wife's (Weisz) mysterious death in Kenya.