Post Magazine

May/June 2021

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 16 of 39

rienced people around me in every department — the DP, sound, VFX, the DI. And I talked to a lot of directors — Ava, Clooney, Mel Gibson — and got great advice: Know your vision, make sure you articulate it well, then get out of the way. And that's what I did with post, and I loved the whole process and working with Pixomondo on all the VFX in particular. "This probably hints at my God com- plex, but it's so amazing when you can say, 'Build me this,' and they do it — only better than you'd imagined. And we did some previs and post-vis, so I learned a lot there. And then supervising sound editor John Marquis and his team at E2 building the sound — all the layering that suddenly brings a scene to life — and all the artists that help make it all more emotional and fantastical. So I loved every aspect and moment of post, and as they say, it's where you actually make the film." Blu Murray, who's cut a lot of Clint Eastwood's films, including Sully, cut this. How did you work together, and what were the main editing challenges? "We edited on Avids [provided by Digital Vortechs] at my home here in LA for a few months, before COVID hit. Then I edited remotely from London with Blu while I was there shooting George Clooney's Midnight Sky, so we were used to doing it that way before we even had to, which helped. The big challenges are finding the right tone — and keeping it consistent — the pacing and all the timing. I imagine every director goes through this — the first cut comes in at two-and-a-half hours, and you simply don't know what to cut. Yes, I signed a contract for a 90-minute film, but I'm sorry, and if Spike Lee and Tarantino can do it, then I can too! (Laughs). Then reality sets it, and the film also starts talking to you and telling you what needs to stay and what needs to go. And that was a big challenge, when friends tell you that you have to cut things you love. That was the most painful part of the editing process." Can you talk about the importance of music and sound to you? "They're so important to me in a film like this, and I was so lucky to meet my composer Peter Baert over in Belgium when I was doing a project there. Later, when I was doing this, he wrote me and ended up sending me eight tracks that I just couldn't shake — even though we already had another composer. And when I cut Peter's music in as an exper- iment, it all just worked perfectly. Within a week, he flew over, sat next to me in the edit, and that's how he became my composer. He'd never done an English- speaking film before, and he totally nailed the tone. We recorded and mixed at Galaxy, and did all the sound design and mixing at Sony and re-recording at Deluxe Hollywood." There are quite a few VFX. How steep was the learning curve for you and what was entailed? "It was very steep, but I really loved working on all of it. I did Jack Reacher with Tom Cruise, and that had tons of VFX, so I talked to Tom about how to approach it all, and he told me that they build all the Mission Impossible films around four or five big set action pieces, as that's how you make a big action film, and I never forgot that. So when we developed this, his words kept ringing in my ears, and we added some set pieces that weren't in the original script, such as the horses, all the bugs and the river crossing sequence. "I wanted to really give audiences that big adventure element — but I didn't realize just how much was involved in creating all that, and I don't think the financiers realized either. There were way more VFX shots than I ever anticipated, but Pixomondo and their VFX supervisor Matthew Welford did an amazing job and made me look very clever." Of course, not being content with taking all that on for your debut, you also had to deal with the animation. (Laughs) "Yes, but that was all born out of necessity. The story of The Water Man, as told by Alfred Molina, was originally written as live action, so that meant we'd have to find or create this 19th century town, and we just didn't have the budget. But as the character's obsessed with graphic novels, it just made sense to animate it instead, and Chel White and Bent Image Lab in Portland created the sequences, and people love it." Did it turn out the way you first envisioned it? "It turned out differently from what was on the page, and a lot of stuff got cut and moved around, but the spirit of it is exactly what I had in my head, and that's pretty amazing for a first time director, I feel." Do you want to direct again? "Absolutely, and a big part of that has to do with post, as I feel that due to the pandemic, I was robbed of a lot of what post should be. I literally sat alone in my office with the sound mix being sent to me, and having to give notes on it, and the same with the ADR and VFX and the DI. It was all remote, and I really missed being on a soundstage with the crew and having the joy of seeing it all in realtime on a big screen. So I can't wait for the next time." DIRECTOR'S CHAIR 15 POST MAY/JUNE 2021 Arri's Alexa Mini was used for the Oregon shoot.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - May/June 2021