Q4 2019

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66 C I N E M O N T A G E F E A T U R E Last Call By Patrick Z. McGavin W ho better to edit one of the most acclaimed pictures of the year than of the most ac- claimed editors of her generation? F o r " T h e I r i s h m a n , " T h e l m a Schoonmaker once again collaborated with director Martin Scorsese. Together the pair have crafted such unforgettable f ilms as "Raging Bull," "Goodfellas," "Casino" and many more. The new picture stands as their most ambitious work yet. The $160-million project is the most expensive of the di- rector's career and has already attracted enormous attention for its "de-aging" process that takes decades off the actors' faces so they can play much younger versions of their characters with minimal or no makeup. "The Irishman" was made for Netflix, which has already upended conventional Hollywood release patterns by only brief- ly releasing the movie in theaters before unfurling it on their digital platform. Adapted from the Charles Brandt book "I Heard You Paint Houses," the three-and-a-half hour movie examines the life of reputed Philadelphia mob contract killer Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro). The story pivots on Sheeran's c o m p l i c a t e d r e l a t i o n s h i p t o t w o wildly different men, the flamboyant Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pa- cino) and the taciturn mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci). Schoonmaker - who has been nom- inated for seven Oscars, and won three - talked with CineMontage about her work process, the de-aging effects, and how "The Irishman" serves as a kind of valediction for Scorsese's mob movies. CineMontage: Did Scorsese talk with you conceptually about the editing rhythms he wanted for this film? Thelma Schoonmaker: Yes. During dailies, which is one of the best times for me, when he is talking about what he wants from the film. Even before, he made it clear it was going to be very simple. There weren't going to be a lot of flashy things in this movie. The pace was going to be much differ- ent than most movies today. Things like the violence were going to be very brief. It was going to be more of a character development story than say "Goodfellas" is. That was very interesting for me to realize we were going to be able to pace the film the way it deserved to be paced. Marty had tremendous respect for the audience. He kept saying, "I am not going to explain everything. The audience will figure it out." Both you and Scorsese give the impres- sion of being perfectionists. Is there a way you try to remain experimental, or spontaneous, in how you approach your work? Of course. Always. Even on the set, Marty loves accidents. When something that happens that is either funny or dramatic that nobody expected on the set—it could be an improvisation, it could be something else—he capitalized on that right away. "Are you talking to me?," from "Taxi Driver" (1976) is a good example. He decided to explore that, and that magnificent scene came out of that. Yo u n eve r k n ow w h at i s go i n g to happen when you put two pieces of film THELMA SCHOONMAKER TALKS ABOUT EDITING SCORSESE'S EPIC 'THE IRISHMAN' P H O T O : N E T F L I X

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