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Where did you do it all? Was it remote because of COVID? "It was like the shoot — a ton of loca- tions. Most of post — the editing, all the sound — was done in London, and we also did a remote edit at one point, as I was in lockdown in Melbourne because of COVID, and we did the director's cut there. It actually got quite problematic in terms of the grade when the pandem- ic kicked in right at the tail end of post, and the grade was being done at Nu Boyana in London with colorist Vanessa Taylor, and I was attending the sessions remotely in Melbourne. It was the same for the mix in London. They uploaded the stems and I did remote sessions at a theater in Melbourne. It's not ideal, but we made it work." You had two editors: Jack Hutchings and Michael Duthie. How did you all work together, and what were the main editing challenges? "Jack and I go way back. He cut a lot of commercials for me, and he's a great editor. We had Jack and his edit team as- sistants follow us around on all the loca- tions with the Avid, so I was able to duck in there and check on things at night. That's so important, especially with big action scenes, which I feel you need to piece together as you're shooting them, as you have 1st and 2nd unit coverage, and often there's a lot of crossover. So having the editors right there on standby means you can go, 'We're missing a piece that no one thought of.' That's a really helpful part of the process. But towards the end, the workload was so great I brought in Michael to help out. It was a real juggling act because of the pandem- ic. These action films are so complex, with so many moving pieces, and for me the real joy of putting them together is in the edit. And then you're dealing with all the comedy, and our original assembly was over three-and-a-half hours — that's how much improv work we had. So one big challenge was, 'What jokes do we keep? Which ones do we kill?' "There were so many great lines, but you just can't keep them all. And of course, you're dealing with pacing and tone, and we wanted to make a really entertaining film that's a hoot, a romp — big, loud and obnoxious! (Laughs). The danger is letting it get too farcical, too over-the-top, and the film's very self-aware, so it was a big balancing act." There are a ton of VFX. Who did them and what was entailed? "We used several vendors, including Nu Boyana, Worldwide FX, Filmgate, all in Bulgaria. The most difficult VFX sequences are the ones where you're dealing with multiple eyelines, and it gets confusing and you can lose geography very quickly. For instance, there was a big car chase sequence that starts in the city and ends up in the mountains that involved multiple vehicles and choppers and motorbikes and other elements, and you have to break it all down very care- fully, especially as none of the locations were really connected. So how do you make it look seamless? "Then we also had a big 400-foot wall of fire, and the yacht sequence and a speedboat chase with jet skis and explosions, and that took days to shoot and get right, and then you're adding all the VFX shots, and again, trying to make the whole thing look seamless. As well as doing a lot of the VFX for us, Nu Boyana is a big studio where I also shot a bunch of pick-ups, such as a sequence we had no time to shoot in principal photography, which didn't need any ac- tors. And they have very talented stunt teams, so I shot a lot of those stunt scenes and some car chase stuff. They also have a big water tank we needed for all the underwater scenes." I heard you're a big music fan? Can you talk about the importance of music and sound to you? "I am a huge music fan and an avid collector of vinyl records, and when I'm developing the script and then through prep and shooting, I'm always thinking about the music. I also like to play stuff on the set for the actors to give them the vibe and a taste of what each specific needle drop is going to be. And then in the edit and post it's a matter of swap- ping out some of the needle drops and mixing in the great score that Icelandic composer Atli Örvarsson wrote for the movie, and then finding exactly the right balance between the two to drive the action scenes. "It's also about the comedy, and using the score and needle drops to enhance all that. I think my favorite scene is the one with Bryce on the swing, and I asked Atli to score it just like a daytime TV movie — schmaltzy and cheesy, and he did a beautiful job. Then Salma arrives and ruins it all, and the music just dies out, so we had a lot of fun working on the score. And I had a great sound team, including supervising sound editor Dominic Gibbs, and we did most of that at Twickenham Studios, London." Looking back, how do you feel about doing post remotely? "Everyone had to adapt, and the technology's certainly there now to let you work that way. I love that I can log onto my edit and check it out remotely. That's a game-changer. But I also found working remotely a bit frustrating in other ways, as I love the team spirit of being in the room with the sound mixers and so on, and you lose all that. I just pitched a film idea a few days ago on a Zoom call, and I miss being able to act it out and they get to see who I am and my personality. Yes, you can do post remotely, but it also loses something that way." DIRECTOR'S CHAIR 17 POST JULY/AUG 2021 The original score adds to the comedic feel. Arri's Alexa Mini was used for the shoot.

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