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January 2018

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EDITING ditor Kevin Tent has a long-stand- ing relationship with director Alexander Payne. The two collaborated on the features Sideways, Nebraska and The Descendants, so it comes as no surprise that Tent would cut his latest film, Downsizing. The Paramount Pictures feature stars Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau and Kristen Wiig, and tells the story of a couple who decide to undergo a new procedure that will miniaturize their bod- ies. At just a few inches tall, individuals can now live in luxury while minimizing their financial needs and impact on the Earth. But the process also introduces unforeseen issues. Poor neighborhoods pop up just outside of these idealistic miniature communities, and refugees are literally escaping civil war by mailing themselves inside boxes of commercial products. Viewers see Damon's Paul Safranek character in his 'downsized' new life, as well as juxtaposed against full- sized environments. Tent took time to speak with Post upon the completion of the film, which opened in theaters in late December. Here, he discusses his working relation- ship with Payne and how Downsizing came together. You've worked with director Alexander Payne many times at this point, on films that vary in style. Who is influencing who when it comes to the look of a film? "I think we influence each other. We go through everything together. We go through all the takes together and are constantly tweaking things, changing things and editing. I think it's probably a combination of both. I think of it as the footage goes into the cutting room and then comes out, and I don't know who does what in there? We are constantly working with each other and going back and forth." Downsizing really allows the footage to speak for itself. The takes often run long. Was that a conscious decision? "We try not to cut too much, and that is something we've tried to do really since Election (1999), which had tons of cut- ting, and lots of fonts, freeze frames and wipes, and everything like that. We try not to over cut. We let the performanc- es play. That's kind of our little theory — that we believe in the strength of performances; that people are entering the film through the characters. If they are strong and convincing, then the au- dience will be convinced with the movie. We made a conscious effort to do that. In fact, we started that with About Schmidt (2002). We wanted to make the performances work really well without over cutting. When we have such fan- tastic actors, like we had then and have now, it makes it a lot easier." How long ago did you get involved in this project? "We go way back. [Co-writer] Jim [Taylor] and Alexander sent me about 60 pages of the script about 12 years ago, and as I said the other night at a screening, I have been waiting for this day ever since. I have been constantly reading drafts, giving them thoughts since they started working on it. And it's taken a long time to finally get it off the ground, but here we are finally." How does the film evolve during the edit process? "Usually, what I do is, I watch dailies every day and start cutting. And I talk to him every day. If I don't talk to him every day, I'll send him an email saying this is what I saw in dailies: 'This looks good. This looks good. Watch for this.' He likes that I saw it and made sure everything is good. Then I send him scenes and he'll watch those. They were on location and PARAMOUNT PICTURES' DOWNSIZING E BY MARC LOFTUS The feature was cut using Avid systems. Editor Kevin Tent

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