Talking Prisoners with Editors Cox & Roach

Lucky for director Denis Villeneuve that Clint Eastwood’s A Star is Born remake with Beyonce Knowles fell through, allowing him to work with Eastwood’s long-time editors Joel Cox and Gary Roach on the riveting child kidnapping thriller, Prisoners, which took the top spot at last weekend’s box office. It meant that Villeneuve (Incendies) was in good hands editorially on his first Hollywood movie, a parable about anger, obsession, and vulnerability that gets under your skin like Silence of the Lambs or Zodiac.

Then again, Prisoners is similar to Eastwood’s best movies in the way it’s performance-driven and classically structured, but with a greater fondness for long takes. Villeneuve certainly likes to linger on Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. And Cox and Roach were primed for distilling primal moments of truth.

The editors can’t say enough good things about working with Villeneuve. He knew exactly what he wanted and delivered what they fully expected and then gave them the freedom to shape it in sync with his vision. For his part, when it was over Villeneuve told them that for the first time he made the movie that he pictured in his head. There was no recutting on his own, as he’d previously done. And the editors believe that Prisoners will have an important cultural impact: From now on, when parents lose sight of their children, it will send them into an instant panic attack.

“It’s a very emotional film,” Roach underscores. “He shoots things in long takes and wanted to see the film he’s holding and not a lot of edits. He said he didn’t wanted to make a Hollywood film, but as we went along, he wanted to see what we thought, so we cut things the way we [thought] they should be, and, in a few instances, we held shots a little longer because he wanted to linger on the moment, like the pushing in on the tree, where it shifted to this emotional ride.”

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Editing, Movies, Tech, Trailers

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