Sometimes in creative pursuits, it helps to have a friend who can be honest about the work you’re putting out. And for Spike Jonze, he’s got a circle of colleagues and pals in his mobile that alone would make for one helluva dinner party. Charlie Kaufman, David Fincher, Catherine Keener, Chris Cunningham, Nicole Holofcener, Miranda July and Bennett Miller are among the confederates Jonze is lucky enough to be able to bounce ideas off of, but it was another friend in particular who helped the director find the final shape of his upcoming film “Her.”
Jonze’s fourth feature is the first he’s written on his own, and when it came to cutting the movie, he had a more difficult time than in the past at getting a sense of what he could leave on the cutting room floor and what was essential to keep. And so he turned to Steven Soderbergh for some help.
“He’s the smartest, fastest editor-filmmaker I know,” Jonze told Vulture, with the director handing “Her” over to Soderbergh to tinker with. “He got the movie on a Thursday, and in 24 hours, he took it from two and a half hours to 90 minutes. We basically said, ‘Be radical, shock us,’ and it was awesome. He said, ‘I’m not saying this should be the cut of the movie, but these are things to think about.’ It was amazingly generous of him, and it gave us the confidence to lose some big things that I wasn’t ready to lose [before]. Even though we didn’t use that exact cut, we were able to make connections between scenes out of connections he made. And making many of the cuts he suggested was a really good kind of pain.”
So what ultimately got snipped from the movie that now runs about two hours long? Most significantly it seems, a documentary-within-the-movie that featured “Adaptation” star Chris Cooper, in addition to back story elements for another character. “There are certain things I need to shoot, even if nobody else thinks they’re going to be in the movie. But there are times when I need room to fall,” Jonze explained. “And other times when I depend on my friends to save me.”
Be sure to read the entire Vulture piece, which provides a detailed breakdown of the making of the movie, how Joaquin Phoenix and Jonze first crossed paths (the actor read for “Adaptation” back in the day) and more on the voice role switch up between Samantha Morton and Scarlett Johansson. “Her” opens on December 18th, but if you need some movie-related gear beforehand, High Snobiety reveals the official shoes of the film drop in November. Yes, they are real and will set you back about $90.