Q3 2020

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27 F A L L Q 3 I S S U E F E A T U R E entangled with pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and ensnared with the villain Chee- tah (Kristen Wiig). This time, instead of the earlier film's World War I setting, the setting is America in the year that Ronald Reagan won re-election—or, if you prefer, the year foretold in a certain novel by George Orwell. Jenkins co-wrote the screenplay with Geoff Johns and Da- vid Callaham, from a story she co-wrote with Johns. The new kid on the block is Pearson, who stepped in after the editor of the first film, Martin Walsh, ACE, had already committed to another project. F o r h e r p a r t , J e n k i n s s a i d t h a t t h e d e p t h a n d b re a d t h o f P e a rs o n's experience made him an ideal f it for "Wonder Woman 1984." "What is so important on these movies is that you have somebody that has this incredibly broad skillset—where they're not only an incredible technical editor but they also have incredible humor and drama and emotions," Jenkins said, and Pearson fit the bill. "I did like his body of work, and I liked that it both had 'Bowfinger'— screen comedy—and it had action." A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Pearson did not grow up with dreams of bringing to life a legendary, lasso-wield- i n g co m i c b o o k h e ro i n e. I n fa c t , h i s ambitions were considerably more mod- est. "When I was a kid, I was fascinated by television and film," Pearson said. "I realized when I was in high school and college, wow, if someday maybe I would be able to work at WCCO-TV in Minne- apolis. That would be the pinnacle." As it turned out, near the end of his education, Pearson won an internship at the station that turned into a job. "That's when I realized I actually had other aspirations," he said. Those aspirations first took Pearson overseas, where he spent several se- mesters at what was then known as the London International Film School, and then to Los Angeles, where he started h u s t l i n g f o r w o r k . "At t h a t p o i n t , I realized that I'd had enough practical experience in very basic film/television production techniques," Pearson said. "I arrived in 1988, in the middle of a writer's strike, so there was absolutely nothing going on. I was cold-calling little independent features that were going into production." The editor's efforts paid off when he was hired to work on a low-budget science-fiction comedy, "Mutant on the Bounty" (1989). "They said they might n e e d a PA , s o I co nv i n ce d t h e m a n d then worked for free for two weeks," Pearson said. "They were so happy with me they paid me $50 a week—that's really true." Additional credits followed, including commercials, music videos, and episodic series, before the editor had the opportunity to work on a ca- reer-changing project: HBO's miniseries about early space travel, "From the Earth to the Moon" (1998). "I saw the 'From the Earth to the Moon' project as a possible bridge to the feature world because they were working with primarily feature di- rectors," Pearson said. Of course, in those days, television editors had a tough time making the transition to feature films. "I was always told at every level: 'Oh, you're never going to be able to go from television to features,'" he said. Enter Frank Oz, to whom Pearson had been recommended by "From the Earth to the Moon" director Jon Turteltaub. Oz, the director of a string of successful commercial comedies, was looking for an editor to cut "Bowfinger." "I said to Frank in that interview, 'Look, there are dozens that can come in here with resumes ten times as long as mine, but they all came from somewhere. I just want to let you know that this is me coming from some- where,'" Pearson said. "He was great, because he was so confident and really just needed someone that he could hang out with in the room but also was compe- tent enough to operate the box." For a while, Pearson accumulated credits in comedies, but Oz gave him an early opportunity to flex his editorial muscles: In 2001, Pearson edited "The Score," a tough-minded heist movie star- ring a much-ballyhooed cast of acting Richard Pearson at home: "I was always very keen to make sure I didn't get pigeonholed." P H O T O : C H R I S T O P H E R F R A G A P A N E

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