Earlier this week we dropped our 15 Most Anticipated Indie Films Of The Summer, not only to give some attention to the movies that will be flying a bit more under the radar, but as a reminder that there is plenty of great stuff to see that doesn’t involve superhero underoos and explosions. And one film this writer has already fallen in love with pretty hard is Noah Baumbach‘s “Frances Ha.” It’s a big-hearted tale of that awkward time between striving for youthful dreams and settling for realistic adult responsibilities, and it’s captured with huge belly laughs and a resonant emotional core. It’s also terrifically entertaining. But it didn’t come easily.
One of the stories behind the movie is how it was shot on the sly, with no formal trade paper announcements, with Baumbach and co-writer and star Greta Gerwig operating without the usual watching eyes. But it was also very hard work, as Gerwig tells the New York Times about this clip from the movie, which took a surprisingly large amount of time to lock down. The scene is a showdown between Frances (Gerwig) and her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner), who is getting married to her boyfriend “Patch,” news which rocks Frances’ world.
“In the film ‘Frances Ha,’ Scene 63 is 28 seconds long. We did 42 takes in total, two hours of shooting in a bathroom with no breaks or pauses other than for direction and blocking,” Gerwig told the paper. “A take, in this case, refers to the entirety of the above printed text, acted from beginning to end. Meaning that Mickey Sumner, playing Sophie, and I, playing Frances, said those words and performed those actions 42 times in a row. The scene had to play “in one,” a take in its entirety, with no edits. The take is the scene.”
Gerwig also notes the movie averaged 35 takes per scene, an unusually high number for an independent film, and if you hit the NYT, Gerwig provides a detailed description of every take, and the differences between each one. Watch the finished clip below — “Frances Ha” opens on May 17th.