Directors who end up contenders during the awards season are faced with two kinds of torture: the first is getting their movie finished, and the other is sweating it out as ballots are cast and top ten lists are made. In a roundtable talk from The Hollywood Reporter, featuring Angelina Jolie (“Unbroken“), Christopher Nolan (“Interstellar“), Richard Linklater (“Boyhood“), Mike Leigh (“Mr. Turner“), Bennett Miller (“Foxcatcher“) and Morten Tyldum (“The Imitation Game“), each director shares the moment occurring during production when they feel they’ve failed.
“I’ve never made a film where I didn’t think, ‘this is the one; this is the disaster,’ ” Leigh stated, a sentiment shared around the table. “Seeing the first edit is the worst. You see the assembly and you think: ‘F—! I f—ed up this stuff,’ ” Tyldum concurs.
Even the seemingly unflappable Nolan reveals he won’t even watch the first footage. “I don’t watch the assembly for exactly that reason. I’ve never watched it —I just couldn’t face it. Four hours is like the crummy version of what you’ve done. It’s funny because the editors call it the ‘editor’s cut,’ ” he said. “It’s there as a document to tell you whether you’re getting everything you need. I don’t believe in reshoots; I just like to go along and get everything with the company of people we have on the shoot we have. So, for me, the wrap of the main-unit shoot is it. And so Lee [Smith], my editor, he’ll call me up, and if there’s something he doesn’t understand, [he’ll say], ‘why didn’t you get this shot?’ We sit there and watch dailies every night and talk about it.”
Elsewhere, Nolan is asked about trying to balance scientific integrity and entertainment when making “Interstellar,” and he compares it to his Dark Knight work. “…try making a Batman film —trust me, they’ll come and burn your house down after. There is a sense of responsibility, and on ‘Interstellar’ it’s about the science; on Batman, it was about people’s commitment to the character and their enthusiasm for it, which is what gets the film made in the first place. We all have to balance that thing of what makes a great story. The only thing I’ve ever come up with is sincerity: If I really believe that what I’m doing is going to give the audience the best experience possible and is the thing I would want to see as an audience member, that comes across.”
There’s so much more in the video, including Miller sharing how he whacked down his initial 4 1/2 cut of “Foxcatcher” and Jolie on how she found herself behind the camera for “Unbroken.” Watch below.