Another day, another great David Cronenberg interview. This time he’s talking to CinemaBlend.com and the topics range from ‘A Dangerous Method’, to discussing character with his actors, to his assumption of the audience’s intelligence. David Cronenberg talks again about his efficient and lean shooting schedule – I always love to hear about that, having marvelled when I saw it first hand during this summer’s filming of Cosmopolis in Toronto. We’ve heard Robert Pattinson comment on David Cronenberg’s confidence and here we hear it from the man himself.
David Cronenberg comments: “Particularly I just don’t shoot as much. I don’t shoot as many angles. I don’t cover a scene from beginning to end with every angle.”
Is that because you can see the movie for yourself as you do it? Yeah. As we do it I feel, OK, I see how the scene is blocked. You get the feeling, and you get confident that you will not suddenly be in the editing room and say “Why the hell didn’t I do that shot?” There are little escape hatches you can use, ways that you can edit your way out of the coverage. But it takes time to learn that, and have confidence that your decision on the set will hold up in the editing room.
Doesn’t it allow you to rely on performances more, like in Keira’s first scene, you’re really just watching her. Do you like giving that power to the actors? I do. And I think they feel it too. And I’m not driving them crazy by doing 100 takes or 50 takes. You hear about guys doing that and I think, “What are they expecting to get out of take 99?” I think that’s madness frankly.
Working with Robert Pattinson in Cosmopolis, is it that same process of really focusing on your actor and giving him a lot of freedom? He’s in every scene. It’s quite a different structure from A Dangerous Method. I think the only similarity really is that there’s a lot of dialogue, but it’s a very different kind of dialogue, a completely different kind of movie. I did shoot it even more ascetically. We finished 5 days early, and I did my director’s cut in two days. That’s a record for me. And yet it seems to work really well. Basically you’re not giving your editors much to work with. At moments he was begging me to do coverage and I wouldn’t. I said I don’t need that closeup, I don’t want that. I’m confident that letting it hang in the long shot is the way to do it. There are classic mistakes that young directors make, they get so enamored of this tricky dolly shot or steadicam shot, then they don’t want to do closeups because they think they’ve done this genius shot, then in the editing room they realize all the emotion, they can’t see it. you have to do closeups. But that’s a lesson you learn very early on in your career as a director. You have to have unshakeable confidence if you’re not going to do that coverage. You have to know this is exactly what I want it to be.
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