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December 2015

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OSCAR BUZZ 15 POST DECEMBER 2015 lent of squinting your eyes. That's how it looks visually. It's not a definitive look of the movie. It gets you close, but ultimate- ly, anytime there was a question, Barry would go in and look at it projected." What are you viewing on-set? "I am looking at a video feed. It's more for composition and general sense. No way do I take it as definitive. You can look through the eye piece to give it a thorough look. I knew if Barry was happy then we were in good shape, so he allowed me to focus more on the acting and the storytelling and compositions, as opposed to having to worry about every flicker of light." How many cameras did you use? "We were two cameras I think the entire time. The reason being, with that handheld, verite style, I wanted to make sure we had coverage options. Barry operates the A camera and is amazing at it. I'd use the B camera to get more traditional sizes." Hank Corwin cut the film. Can you talk about its editing style? "I didn't want there to be a classical structure that you settle into as far as the cut pattern goes. The whole idea is that it's alive. You are surprised — moment to moment — it's living. Hank Corwin was the perfect editor for it. He came to the project with years of impressive credits behind him and a lot of skill. I told him watch 24 Hour Party People and United 93 — those are two movies I am mod- eling this off of — not directly — but I want the movie to be alive and like what [director Michael] Winterbottom did with 24 Hour Party People. I want to have that same sort of spirit." The film is dialogue driven and at times, the editing cuts mid-word? "The first time [Hank Corwin] showed me, I was like, 'What is that?' And he's like, 'It creates this jarring bolt of energy and this ragged-ness,' and I fell in love with it. There are a bunch of different moves like that. And he does these little, internal jump cuts that you are almost not even aware [of] that are so cool. He's not doing it as a show-off move, but they are these jolts of energy and storytelling moves that keep it powering. This story is driven by character and we had to make sure the energy was always up and always alive. And that's the way it really is. Finance, banking, it's the language of power." One of the most powerful scenes is with Steve Carell's character in the Chinese restaurant. Do you have a favorite? "I think you just named it. The one with Wing Chau (played by Byron Mann) in the restaurant in Vegas — I love that scene. I love everything about it. That scene does everything that we were trying to do with the movie. It's very real and an extremely-technical conversation. You are combining this fantastic perfor- mance between Steve Carell and Byron Mann…And you have a shooting style that's alive, and has a bit of a crackle to it, and sometimes it's funny, and then boom we're starting to get stylized. It's kind of shifting gears a lot. There are a lot of different moods. I am also a believer that genres are fading away and you can shift genres. All those old genre frames don't hold anymore." Can you talk about ILM's invisible visual effects? "The big visual effects shot is a time- lapse shot during the montage that shows the 30 years of banking growth. It shows New York being built up, and it's intercut with the montage. You see these buildings sprouting up on the New York skyline, and ILM did the most amazing shot. It looked like we put a camera on a building for 25 years. It's an incredible shot. By the end I thought it was so good that no one was going to know it's fake! It turned out to be perfect. "Then we did little fixes. We had to fill out some screens, when we did the Salomon Brothers' late '70s trading floor. We could only get so many computers that would work for that, so there were screens we had to fill out. There were scenes later with the Blackberrys during the Bear Stearns speech with Steve Carell's character. We only had so many Blackberrys that were functioning, so we had to fill out some of those screens." There are many ways this story could have been told. Did the film turn out as you had imagined? "Yes! Here's how much so: The original draft of script that I wrote, I intercut more between the characters. And one of the notes I got was, 'Shouldn't you just start with Burry and let him play out his storyline, and then go to Carell?' And I was like, 'Sure we can do that,' knowing that in the edit room I could do whatever I want. And then sure enough, we got in the edit room and said, 'No, you have to go Burry, Carell, Burry, Carell.' What really scared me was the celebrity explainers — the Anthony Bourdain thing — was it go- ing to work, and if it didn't, what the hell am I going to do? They worked — thank god. To totally stop the movie and cut to someone else? It was a scary choice." Are you thinking about Oscar nominations? Steve Carell and Christian Bale stand out. "You make a film, and what happens, happens. But now that we're through the end of the tunnel, certainly they talk about stuff like that. I think they should get consideration for the awards stuff. I think their performances are jaw-drop- pingly good. I also think Barry Ackroyd and Hank Corwin should get consider- ation. I think it's an editing tour de force, and a shooting tour de force. I think they both did master-level work. Ryan Gosling also had a very hard job in this movie. He's got to be the connective tissue and speak outside the movie while being a character…The whole cast is amazing." What's next? "I get a little time off…Through the years I've learned that whenever I have a movie come out and talk about what I'm doing next, it never ends up being what I do." Christian Bale as analyst Dr. Burry. The feature was shot on film.

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