Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Contest: Win A Copy Of ‘The Master' On Blu-Ray/DVD (In Stores Today)

"The Master" is out today on Blu-ray and we have 4 copies of the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack to give away to readers who help us spread the word about our "Making The Master" interview series. So far in our series, we've spoken to writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, producer JoAnne Sellar, costume designer Mark Bridges, production designers Jack Fisk & David Crank, actress Madisen Beaty, editor Leslie Jones and poster artist Dustin Stanton about their experiences working on the film.

All you have to do is tweet a link to your favorite interview from the series using the hashtag #MakingTheMaster and include our handle @cigsandredvines and the 4 readers who get the most retweet's (from legit non-spam/bot accounts) will win a Blu/DVD. It's that simple!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Interview: Making ‘The Master' with Poster Artist Dustin Stanton

Welcome to the seventh installment of "Making The Master," our series of in-depth interviews with some of the minds behind "The Master." We've spoken to many of the production's principal players (including writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, producer JoAnne Sellar, costume designer Mark Bridges, production designers Jack Fisk & David Crank, actress Madisen Beaty and editor Leslie Jones) that helped bring the film to life and today we have an interview with poster artist Dustin Stanton. Dustin is a graphic designer and creative director who has been working with PTA for the past 14 years designing nearly every poster, DVD, soundtrack, newspaper or FYC ad for his films going all the way back to "Magnolia." Dustin spoke to us over email about creating artwork for each of Paul's films for the last decade, what their collaboration is like and the balance of creating beautiful art that also functions as a commercial tool. Enjoy.

Cigarettes & Red Vines: Dustin, tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started designing movie posters?
Dustin Stanton: It's really a mailroom - style beginning. It was just a job while still in high school as a driver slash production artist at one of the large entertainment advertising companies in town. I was an art major and just pulling plans together to maybe go to an art school. This opportunity had fallen in my lap and I thought it might be a good way to make a little money. I really love movies and this agency was one of a small handful that were in Los Angeles that were designing posters for film. In the hallways at the agency, all the posters that they had designed were hanging and I was a bit struck by it all, thinking...'Wow, I could do that, too!" I've had the incredible fortune of working with some very talented, creative and inspirational people over the years. As time went by, I migrated between agencies. I learned a lot and was given opportunities to grow as an art director. I sincerely, owe a great deal to the many mentors and friends that I have in the business.

At what point did you decide to break out on your own?
Late 2009. It really wasn't my idea, but I'm really glad it happened. I left an agency called Concept Arts. Really nice, family-owned company. Things ran their course and I found myself with the decision of either going to another agency or striking out on my own. I really got used to the idea of making my own hours and working with clients I really liked. Never looked back.

How did you first come to work with Paul?
I met Paul in post-production on Magnolia. I was working at BLT. We had the New Line account and he wanted to meet with the design team that would be working on his film. So after the screening, we had a really good meeting. Believe it or not that's pretty rare that a filmmaker will do that. It became apparent right away to me that this was no ordinary filmmaker, someone that I would enjoy working with. I became the point person on Magnolia and that's really when we began collaborating.

I'd like to talk a bit about that first collaboration. Was this for the teaser falling frogs poster or the final flower image? What was Paul looking for and can you talk about some of the iterations that the design went through before arriving at the final image?
The 'frog teaser' had already been done. I think Paul handled that before coming to BLT. Our job was to come up with the one-sheet poster. The only one clear direction was that we weren't to use Tom on the poster. It wasn't a 'Tom Cruise movie'. Everyone agreed the strength of the film was the cast as a whole.

We had a small team of art directors working on it. There were a few designs that were being considered for the poster and one that really stood out was that of a magnolia with a subtle frog pattern in the center of the flower with the cast worked into the petals. That design was done by another art director on the team. The flower used in that early design was a grainy and blurry production still. I suggested that we take a beautiful photograph of a magnolia flower and use it instead. It was just pure luck that all the magnolia trees were in full bloom at that time of year. We went to Home Depot, bought a fruit picker and headed down to Melrose Avenue where there were tons of magnolia trees. We shot that flower with a 4x5 film camera. Going that extra mile really helped the poster come to life.

There were several really good designs that the team came up with. I had a poster design in which a frog was falling and making a tear in the poster, revealing blue sky. We also had a 'basket weave' design that had the cast literally weaving through each other's lives. Those pieces were eventually used in the DVD packaging. That is one thing I've come to appreciate with working with Paul. If he likes something, it'll stay in the back of his mind. Rather than throwing it out and letting it die, we'll find a place that it will really work well.

Magnolia turned out to be a pretty big project. After the poster was finished, I took on newspaper ads, Golden Globe and Academy ads, dvd, vhs, and soundtrack packages and Paul was very involved in each one.

So take us to "Punch-Drunk Love" now. At this point were you still working at BLT? Or had you struck out on your own? What were the first things you heard about this film before starting work on the poster?
I was at another agency in Burbank. We started working on PDL early - during preproduction. He gave me very little to work with - in a good way. I just knew that Adam Sandler was in it and it wasn't going to be as heavy as Magnolia. Paul was really into Godard and French new wave as a point of departure. I watched a couple of those films. 'Aliens, love & violence' were some early words of direction. I felt inspired to do a painting which had an explosion of red coming from around a heart. That eventually worked its way into some things (back of special edition PDL dvd). We screened the movie together and right after, Paul was like 'Well, what do you think the poster image is?'. Almost simultaneously we both said that it has to be the moment when Barry and Lena meet in the lobby of the hotel in Hawaii. It's just such a gorgeous moment. It really defines them coming together from these two different directions so well. We explored some other options but nothing really worked as well. Paul had been working with an artist, Jeremy Blake, on the transition animations for the film and his artwork became vital to everything I was doing from that point on.

So by this point Paul was pretty committed to working with you. "Punch-Drunk Love" is pretty interesting because there was really only that single image used for just about the entire campaign. It works as both a teaser poster and final one-sheet. Do you remember any resistance from the studio at the time or desire to make a more traditional looking Adam Sandler poster?
I can remember being only a little surprised being contacted again by Paul. It seemed natural. One thing I've come to learn is that he is incredibly loyal. If you connect and do good work, you'll do it again. And again. Who wouldn't be like that? I'm like that too. The image was simple enough for a teaser and yet, I think, satisfying enough for a one-sheet. I really don't remember any resistance from the studio. The film was quite a bit different from the movies that Adam was doing around that time. The studio knew that. Revolution knew that. They let us play and come up with the stuff that felt right for the film. Bless them for that. There's no point in trying to sell the film in another way. I don't think that would've worked.

So, tell us about the "There Will Be Blood" teaser. It looks like there a bunch of alternate designs on your site for that film so you definitely went through some different iterations. When did you get involved in that one? And what direction helped you arrive at the final image?
Paul got me involved with TWBB much later than PDL. He invited me to screen the movie. We talked after. I was blown away by the film. One of my memories of his direction was that he saw Daniel Plainview as Nosferatu. A vampire - sucks lifeblood out of people, the land, eventually consumes himself. I was so excited to try a bunch of stuff. Things that were influenced by book covers and title pages. Things that felt like pulp covers, or novel covers from days gone by. Also, older movie posters. I wanted to try different styles of execution. I even tried a portrait in dirty oil ala Vik Muniz. (chocolate looks like dirty oil) Paul liked a lot of the stuff I showed early on but we weren't sure they were giving enough. Maybe holding back a little too much. We had many teaser type images so we began focusing on the poster. He really wanted to get a great shot of Daniel from the film- a portrait of this man, unfettered and straight ahead. We tried a bunch of different faces before picking the one that is the poster now. We got word from [producer] Scott Rudin that he really liked a lot of the earlier pieces and suggested that we use the book cover idea for a teaser. Since I don't have to be asked twice to make two posters for a film, I went to work finishing the teaser first.

At what point in the process does he come to you with “The Master”?
The film was mostly done. They were still adjusting some things in the picture and sound edits. I saw a cut at the office.

What's your first impression of the film?
I'm not that different from many who've seen the film. As I watched these characters and their story roll out in front of me, I knew something really profound was happening. These are artists, everyone: Joaquin, Phil, Amy, Paul are at the top of their game here. I thought the performances and camera work were delicious. The sets, wardrobe, make-up, all of it, put me there in post-war america. The story is so simple and sweet but still has a few twists that hold you fast to the screen. I got the opportunity to watch it several times, even in 70mm. Some films just reward the viewer with multiple viewings. It took a couple times to truly understand and appreciate some of the things that were happening. Not because of confusion, but because there are things happening in The Master that challenge your emotions and intellect. Dana Stevens from Slate.com wrote a great article that we featured in the The Cause Footpath about that very thing. As did A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis from the New York Times. But to be honest, what I was really think about was 'How can I represent this film in a poster?' 'What can I do that would do justice to this incredible work?'

At this point, does PTA give you some direction about what he's looking for? Do you discuss themes or imagery? Or do you come back with some ideas?
He's mentioned before that he sees it as a love story. I agree. For a moment in time, Freddie Quell and Lancaster Dodd share a symbiotic relationship. Each filling a space in one another's life. We began with ways of showing that inter connectivity. The eyes were an early idea that eventually made their way home in our 70mm tour poster, French and UK ads. I went away and did some exploration with some other images and type designs. We played around a small handful of designs for a little while before landing solidly on our teaser poster.

Can you talk about your creative process a little bit? How did you arrive at the final bottle teaser?
I really just wanted to create a simple announcement teaser poster. I had been working on typography that was conjuring Navy call letters and liquor bottle labels. At one point, kinda felt stuck. Like it was almost there but wasn't 'talking to me'. I took some time away from it for a couple days and thought to myself "What could I do that would hang comfortably on the wall next to the There Will Be Blood teaser poster." I then started thinking that I wanted to bring the type to life by putting it in a situation and photographing it. One of the major elements in The Master is the ocean and this toxic liquid and this sense of drowning or failing OR healing and getting better. The water line through the title is kinda that divide that creates sink or swim, that point of tension.

And how did you actually create the teaser?
It's one photograph. The only thing I needed to do in Photoshop was a date correction and a little touch up.

What's the balance like between creating a beautiful piece of artwork that communicates the feeling of the film and making something that also functions as a commercial tool for selling the film?
That really is the crux of it. Many times that is hard to achieve - that balance of art and commerce. It's kinda like the equivalent of achieving inner peace, to commercial artists and their clients. I think at the core of that balance is trust and integrity. Let the people that are involved do what they do best. No one way is the right way. At every step there needs to be an evaluation whether or not the piece is working for the project. Sometimes it needs to be beautiful, sometimes it just needs to function. At times artists get precious about things that aren't working towards the overall message. Likewise, sometimes marketers ignore esthetics to communicate a message. Can't we all just get along?

Did you set out exploring any directions for the final poster? Or was it already settled that the Weinstein's were going to be handling that one?
We had a few designs that were put on the table - left over from the teaser exploration. I knew that [the designer] Fabrice was working on stuff along side what I was doing. Thank goodness he was. I really had my hands full with the teaser and 70mm tour poster.

What are the different challenges of creating teaser poster vs. the final poster? Do you think about them as completely separate assignments or do you not differentiate?
Oh yes, separate assignments for sure. Teasers have an entirely different job to do than the final poster. When you get a wedding invite in the mail, you don't want to know what they're serving for dinner or exactly what the bride's dress looks like... you just want to know that you're invited to this great party.

Can you talk about working on "The Master" DVD/Blu packaging? What kind of stuff can we look forward to on there?
We designed the Bluray / DVD packages and menus together. The teasers and trailers from TheMasterFilm.com site are on there. There is also a 'behind the scenes' short. On the Bluray, we were able to fit on John Huston's 'Let There Be Light', a really great film on returning WWII vets.

I also loved "The Cause Footpath," that little newspaper you guys put together. Can you talk about where that idea came from?
Mike Kaplan, a marketing guru, vintage poster collector and all around awesome guy mentioned we might try something like what he did with A Clockwork Orange. He published a mini newspaper called ORANGE TIMES that discussed the film, performances and production notes. It also featured a controversial article about the film. A copy of ORANGE TIMES is currently on display at the Academy's Kubrick exhibit, "The Ultimate Trip," in their Grand Lobby Gallery through April.

The Cause Footpath was the result of that inspiration. We hoped it could be something that would be available at the theaters or tipped into newspapers -something that would keep the public conversation about the The Master going. It features an article by Dana Stevens of Slate.com in which she makes a convincing argument for more than one viewing of the film. We had a lot of fun putting it together. It actually turned into a labor of love.

Can you describe what your working relationship with PTA is like now? How has it evolved over time?
Its good. I think over time we've developed a working language and an understanding. A short hand that gets to the point. But it really doesn't seem like a 'working relationship'. Yes, its work yet it doesn't seem like it most of the time. He's a friend and I am honored to be part of the fun. He challenges me to be better and do better. As an artist, that's important to have around you - other artists that make you sit back and say "Is that the best I can do? Is that expected, lazy or trite?"

Do you ever hit a dead-end creatively (land on something lazy/trite)? How do you get around those obstacles?
Of course. I just try to take a moment and just rethink it on different levels and re-ask the questions: What am I trying to communicate, What should the feeling or tone be? Also, either go online and do research or open up some art and design books just to stir the creative stew a little.

Last Question: I know it's early days yet but have you started thinking at all about "Inherent Vice," reading the book, soaking up the late 60's aesthetics?
Yes, actually. Just begun reading it. This could be a lot of fun. Stay tuned!

"There Will Be Blood" poster explorations (via Dustin Stanton)

"The Master" arrives on Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow.    
Stay tuned to Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Few Thoughts On The Academy Awards

The Academy Awards are finally here which will at long last bring the 2012 awards season to a close. So while we anticipate who will take home the gold this year -- we'll obviously be rooting for Joaquin, Amy & Philip tonight along with "Zero Dark Thirty" and co. -- let's take a quick trip down memory lane. Quick! How many of these films were nominated for Best Picture?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dazzling New Mondo Poster For ‘The Master'

Mondo is doing a series of posters for Oscar nominated films including "The Master" by artist Laurent Durieux which you can see above. There are only 385 of these 24x36” prints which will run $55 a piece and go onsale (randomly) Sunday during the Oscars. Good luck to everyone who wants one and if you happen to grab an extra, please let us know. (via The Playlist)

Pre-order "The Master" on Blu-ray or DVD.    
Stay tuned to Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates.

Guide To ‘The Master' Deleted Scenes Updated; Nic Cage & Jane Campion ♥ The Film

As you already know "The Master" will be released on Blu-ray and DVD this Tuesday and we've been rolling out some great behind-the-scenes photos from the disc on our Twitter and Facebook pages. I've been digging into the disc since it arrived last week and it's another stunner. In addition to the film, the Blu features an 8 minute behind-the-scenes short called "Unguided Message," Trailers, Teasers, "Let There Be Light," a Digital Copy and 20 minutes of deleted scenes stitched together entitled "Back Beyond" which are fucking fantastic. Naturally with so many new deleted scenes (and puzzle pieces now in place) we thought it was time to update our Guide To 'The Master' Deleted Scenes. If you'd like to stay fresh for the disc, hold off until next week but if you want a peek at some of the new stuff coming your way, click over and explore. We also have a few copies of the film to give away so lookout for details on how to get one next week.

In other news, both Nicolas Cage and filmmaker Jane Campion had some nice words to say about "The Master" and PTA. The Playlist spoke to Cage about films that excite him and he said, "I love “The Master,” I love “Drive,” I think Ryan Gosling and Joaquin Phoenix are the most exciting actors out there -- I think [U.S. film is] in good shape.The problem is, because of the economy, and I know this better than anybody, nobody has any money. And it’s hard to get these little movies made. But the fact is they got made, it happened, “The Master” exists, “Drive” exists, David Gordon Green’s “Joe” exists -- it can be done." Indiewire talked to Campion who said, "I saw 'The Master,' 'Seven Psychopaths,' 'Killing Me Softly' recently and loved them... I think what people really love are stories and stories that are stretching us in some way. That are really thrilling to our lives still. It's not just business. The business comes after. But you know, when you've got people as extraordinary as say, Paul Thomas Anderson... They're so creative, they're so exciting. For me, that's what it's all about."

Hopefully you've been following along with our "Making The Master" interview series (with writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, producer JoAnne Sellar, costume designer Mark Bridges, production designers Jack Fisk & David Crank, actress Madisen Beaty and editor Leslie Jones). We have the 7th installment coming up on Monday with poster designer Dustin Stanton. Dustin has been working with Paul for nearly 14 years now designing nearly every PTA-related poster/DVD/soundtrack/newspaper ad going all the way back to "Magnolia." We talked to him about creating the teaser poster, DVD packaging and his creative process working with PTA. Stay tuned!

Pre-order "The Master" on Blu-ray or DVD.    
Stay tuned to Twitter and Facebook for the latest news and updates.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Interview: Making ‘The Master' with Editor Leslie Jones

Welcome to the sixth installment of "Making The Master," our series of in-depth interviews with some of the minds behind "The Master." We've spoken to many of the production's principal players (including writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, producer JoAnne Sellar, costume designer Mark Bridges, production designers Jack Fisk & David Crank and actress Madisen Beaty) that helped bring the film to life and today we have an interview with editor Leslie Jones. As she had also done with "Punch-Drunk Love" a decade earlier, Leslie came aboard the film after principal photography had been completed and worked with PTA to help find the shape for the film. (She shares a credit with editor Peter McNulty who worked on the film through production). Leslie spoke to us about the original 3rd act for "Punch-Drunk Love," the scene in "The Master" that was the most challenging to get right and the origin of the teaser trailers. Enjoy.

Cigarettes & Red Vines: I know you first collaborated on “Punch-Drunk Love” about a decade ago, but how did you and Paul first come to work together?
Leslie Jones: We met at the Sundance Director’s Lab in 1998 and we were both advisors there. I was going to screen a copy of “The Thin Red Line” which I had just worked on, and he offered to be the moderator for the Q&A afterwards. He was very excited about the movie and had so many questions and we just really connected through that movie. We just really hit it off with that film and the experience we had at Sundance with a great group of people, we got to work together there at the lab. I don’t know where the time went but a few years later, he was just starting “Punch-Drunk Love” and the editor he had during production didn’t work out. So he remembered meeting me at Sundance and called and said, “I’m doing this movie. I’m pretty much finished shooting for now. Do you want to come on and help me out?”

It was a very unique experience because he had to finish shooting prior to completion because of an impending actor’s strike. So he shut down and decided he was going to work with what he had until he had to go back and pickup scenes but never got to. So we had one of the most luxurious opportunities and experiences filmmakers get to have on a movie because we got to sit with the film and work on it and talk about it for a long time. It was a good 6 or 9 months and we didn’t have an end, the last 20 or 30 minutes of the film hadn’t been shot. So we got to really, really think about what the movie should be and where it was going to go. He had so many ideas, so many different ideas, than what we ended up with. He was originally going to shoot a very different movie at the end. We sat around and talked and talked and talked and talked for a long time and at the end of it, came up with something completely different. So he shot the end of the movie and we had a lot more time to work on that and screen it.

Do you remember what some of those earlier ideas for the end of the film were going to be?
Adam Sandler’s character was collecting these coupons for airline miles from the pudding and he was going to use those miles to travel for this contest where you would hit all these major cities around the world using these miles. Adam was going to fly to South America and all these different places and we were going to follow him through that journey. I forget now how that was going to affect his connection with the Emily Watson character so I think in the end the reason that wasn’t shot is because Paul wanted to stay with the love story and create more of a tension with the Phil Seymour Hoffman character. So he did ultimately stay with the love story because that was the most engaging aspect of the film.

Looking back, “Punch-Drunk Love” was really a turning point in PTA’s career. At what point did get the call for “The Master”?
Coincidentally I had the same sort of experience as “Punch-Drunk Love” where I got a call right after he finished production and he needed help. Peter McNulty did the first cut on "The Master" [while the film was in production] and he did a fantastic job. So I got to see the movie and then Paul and I started work on it. It was a similar experience in that the whole movie was shot, still very fluid situation. He was still trying to figure out what the movie was really about, whose story he really wanted to tell and what the focus was going to be. It was just a different experience when you don’t start in production, which is very pressured and quick and very stressful. There’s a lot of film coming in and scenes get cut very quickly and then they get put aside and there’s no real continuity.

So they were editing while the film was in production?
You’re always cutting in production but it’s fractured and stressful. It’s kind of nice to come on after that happens and you’re not burdened with the stress of what might’ve happened on the set, lab issues, 70mm complications, stuff like that which will always intrude into the process. So I love coming in later and getting to see the whole movie which is already there, cut and getting to collaborate with Paul when he’s in a more focused frame of mind. He’s not shooting, he’s there, present, in the cutting room and we get to just talk about what’s there. We sit in front of a continuity board which has flashcard pictures of every scene and they’re in order, so we just move the cards around all the time and think about different structures and hours would go by of just sitting and staring at this board and talking and moving things around and eventually trying things in the edit. But a lot of our work was just conversations, pondering and thinking. Then we would go through phases where we would look at things more under a microscope and take scenes apart, put them back together again.

You weren't cutting on film were you?
No, we cut on the Avid but we printed film. Dailies were printed, we saw film dailies and then a work picture was created based on our Avid cut list so we had film screenings.

What is that actual editing process like? Are you and Paul side-by-side the entire time, do you talk about something and then you go off and put a scene together and come back with something to show him?
For a lot of it, we would talk about changes and he would go away, I’d do the notes and he’d come back and we would do more work together. Most time was spent where he was in the room reading, writing emails, just there present but not focused on what I was doing until I said, “Hey, look at this!”

“The Master” and “Punch-Drunk Love” both seem to be PTA’s loosest films structurally. There’s a much more straightforward version of this story where The Master is much more of a villain or manipulator and this is obviously much more complex film than that. How do you get to the core of what the film is about?
The focus of the story wasn’t obvious in the beginning. There was a lot of a lot of story and there was a lot of backstory for Joaquin, there was a lot of backstory for Phil and the beginnings of The Cause, how he started the movement and also his relationship to some of his followers. It’s all good in its own right, in isolation it’s great. But you put it all together and it meandered in places. So we had to choose what was the most important and what was the most engaging and in the end it was Phil and Joaquin’s characters’ relationship with each other. All the other stuff that got in the way of that really needed to not be there. But still, it’s really hard to know how far to go with cutting stuff. You never know for sure.

We’d screen it over and over again, sometimes it was obvious and sometimes it wasn’t. But Paul is fiercely loyal to his own instincts and if there is something he loves and it’s clearly maybe not acceptable to other people, that’s okay for him. He really trusts himself and the film and that’s what I think is so special to Paul as a filmmaker. He really trusts his actors and his performances and you see that in the way he shoots the film and the way he holds on shots and edits. Where there may be a lot more manipulation happening in other films with a lot more cutting and using different takes, Paul doesn’t do that. He’ll find a performance, he sticks with it, he trusts it, he’ll stay in one shot. Sometimes it’s a little scary wondering, “Does this hold up?” But in the end, it really all does come together. I’m amazed sometimes at how he can see that. He can visualize how it’s all going to work together.

It must be difficult to know what to cut because the film really isn’t driven by plot, it’s driven by theme and character. So how do you know what you can tear away and what has to be there?
It’s just a feeling, I can’t explain it. I can’t explain why I cut something all the time, it’s just a feeling. And if it feels emotional, if it feels authentic, if it feels lyrical, then it feels right. I think he and I are on the same page that way, there are a lot of lyrical moments we fell in love with and when that works with the music, you know you really got something special and you kinda know it. The film became very hypnotic in a way because of those moments.

Is it tough to lose some of that great footage?
Yes, it’s very hard. But when it doesn’t drive the story along and you realize, “Oh, this is what’s getting in the way,” you know that the thing before and the thing after are going to be so much better when you take this middle thing out. Even though it’s funny or it’s this or that, it becomes a no brainer. Then you’ve made great progress and you get invigorated again with the movie. Then you have great material for a teaser! It was really fun using all those outtakes for the teasers. But honestly, most of that footage was out of the movie pretty early on. There were some alternate takes that were great but as a whole didn’t stand up, but we were able to take little pieces out like that piece in the jail, “Tell me something that’s true!” That take didn’t really hold up in its entirety so we didn’t use it but it’s great for the teaser.

I feel like that become one of the most iconic lines in the trailer but I remember my surprise during my first viewing because its not even in the film! But as many times as I’ve watched those teasers it still feels like its there in a way even though it’s not in the actual film.
So much of that footage we used in the teasers was voiceover padding, which allows us to use dialogue that will sum up a story in 2 or 3 minutes. It also gives you a sense of time and place and the feeling of the movie. So like the shot of Joaquin walking outside the Phoenix conference just after he’s beaten up the guy.

Yep, he’s walking in front of the white wall.
Yeah and he’s walking and walking and walking and walking. You just don’t have time for shots like that in a movie, well, sometimes, but not all the time. So there’s a lot of that stuff that comes out very early on in the process. But they’re just gold for teasers. Not trailers, not commercial trailers, but the teasers we made. It’s fun to be able to play with some dialogue or music and hold over a shot like that.

I’m going to come back to the teasers but I want to go back to the film for a second. Do you remember how long the editing process was?
I came onboard in the Fall of 2011 and we finished up around June of 2012. So about 8 months.

Was there any pressure to make a Fall 2012 release date or did it feel like you had the time to find it however long it took?
We had a really good amount of time. We didn’t really have the pressure of a release date but we knew there was one around September. Our only pressure was to allow enough time to complete the 70mm printing process which was, for us, kind of an unknown. We were making 2 different movies essentially: a 70mm version and a 35mm version. That was a very time consuming process because we were color timing photochemically and cutting negatives and doing that with two formats is just a little complicated. And nobody had really done it that way before. That was our only pressure to finish the film around June to get the prints ready in time for September.

Can you talk about how the movie found its shape over the course of that 8 months? Was there any invaluable feedback from one of those screenings or any ‘A-ha’ moment that made things click into place?
It was a very gradual process. We screened it quite a bit for Paul’s close friends and filmmaker friends of his. I would say the ‘A-ha’ moment came when we got music from Jonny [Greenwood]. There was a long period of time where it felt like he got to a point in the edit where he was really happy with it but couldn’t really go on until we got some more music. Those outstanding pieces of score were really going to tie some things together and inform some of the sequences and how they were cut and whether they belonged. Jonny’s music was coming in throughout the whole process but it was a situation where the cut would inform a direction that Jonny would take and then Jonny’s music would inform a direction we would take with the edit. So it was sort of a give and take. But towards the end when we got a lot of the final music it was like, “Wow, it feels cohesive now.” The music felt cohesive therefore the story does and it was very gratifying to realize that. But it was a pretty gradual movement of how we cut the movie and how it took shape. Though it was in pretty great shape when I first saw it, early on, just long and needed to be focused just like most movies do.

Was there a particular scene that was most difficult to find the rhythm of or anything you would say was the biggest challenge in editing the film?
The hardest sequence was the scene we called the ‘touch the wall’ scene, the processing sequence where Freddie goes back and forth touching the wall. That was the hardest scene, we had a lot of footage, a lot of different sorts of exercises that Freddie was going through and we really weren’t sure how those pieces fit together. It was a big puzzle and we weren’t sure what Freddie’s journey was going to be through this process and where he was going to end up, what arc he was going to take, so that took the longest amount of time to get.

It was clear every screening we would go into thinking, “Oh, we got it. We made some progress,” and then we’d watch it and think, “Oh God, we’ve got to go back and start over.” There were some pieces in that sequence that were really strong and we knew that those belonged but how do we fill in the space in between? Eventually we did and we got something great. That was a great day. We found a rhythm and when we screened it we knew, “Thank God, we got it.” That was a huge weight lifted off our shoulders because it was one of the most nagging issues that we had.

I know there were some films that were more touchstones for the writing and tone but were there any films you looked at for inspiration as far as the editing?
No. Paul had some references that he used with his production people and if he has something I’m happy to look at it. But you don’t want to rip anybody off and you don’t want to be distracted by something else you’ve seen. You want to approach the material with a fresh perspective and a unique approach and not be influenced by anything else. The footage you have is unique and you can only cut it in a way that works for that movie. Nothing else can really inform how you do it.

To go back to the teasers for a minute, how did those come about?
We started talking about it in the Spring of 2012. We did a lot of these little short pieces for “Punch-Drunk Love” where he was remembering things, we used a lot of the Jeremy Blake artwork to cut these little teasers. They were smaller than teasers.

The Scopitones?
Yes, the Scopitones! So he was reflecting on those and wanting to do something similar. We also had all this great music too that Jonny had done that hadn’t ended up in the final movie so he planned to do a series that he would release on his own and they were posted by our assistant editor through the cutting room. It was very exciting because we felt like we were so much on our own without the studio telling us what to do and how to do it and when to do it. We knew that The Weinstein Co. had their own campaign they were getting ready for and we were onboard with that too but Paul really wanted to do something out of the box as well. So we just started cutting these teasers and we started with one that featured Joaquin and then we did one that was more about Phil. I think we did one for Amy but I don’t think we ever released that one.

I don’t think so either.
Then we did one that we called the 'Love Teaser,' I’m sure it’s called something else now ["She Wrote Me A Letter"] but it was more about Doris and it was much more abstract and mysterious. I cut them pretty close to each other and they would just sit in a bin and we would have it and wait for Paul to be interested in them again. He would come in and say, “Let’s go look at a teaser again,” and we would get excited about it and we’d recut it. He would be very impulsive about it and just decide, “OK, it looks great. Let’s post it!” It was like, “Are you sure? Are you really ready?” It was so empowering that we could just put it out there ourselves and it would go out to the world. It was very exciting.

How close did you guys follow the response to them? Especially that first one when no one had even seen a frame of film to all of a sudden getting this two minutes of footage must have been incredibly exciting to watch the reactions coming back.
It was great. It was very exciting, very inspiring. It gave us a huge boost and made us want to do more. But you’d have to show some restraint, you couldn’t do too much at once. Paul and I had also cut a long trailer for Cannes which had gone before the teaser I believe.

The teaser actually came out the day before the Cannes footage, which I thought was a really cool way of leveling the field.
Oh okay, you’re right. I think we half-expected the Cannes trailer to get leaked out somehow but it didn’t. Then we were able to take that Cannes version and extend it and put a lot more in there.

That was the last one, the “Thank You” teaser.
Then there was a 20 minute version which is going on the DVD. A lot of that stuff we just tried to fit together and cut it a different way.

Are there any scenes that were filmed and cut together that didn’t make it into that 20 minutes?
There’s a few. [laughs]

Anything of interest?
I’m sure any of this stuff would be interesting to fans of Paul’s but it was stuff that didn't have a visual feeling to it, it didn’t tell a story, it wasn’t interesting visually. There was a little bit of that. Some scenes that Paul just knew he didn't get on the day -- that were just visually not interesting, not working -- and he knows it. He’s amazing and he’s so lucky to have producers that plan for that kind of thing where he’s going to have a bad day and [say], “Let’s reshoot it, we’re prepared. Tomorrow we’ll redo it.” He did that a number of times, it’s quite a bit of footage that was reshot.

But no major sequences or anything?
No, not really.

You worked with another revered auteur, Terrence Malick on “The Thin Red Line,” so can you just talk about any similarities or differences you noticed working with these two filmmakers?
Well, they’re both just brilliant at what they do and incredibly intuitive and trusting of their actors. But I think it’s clear they both have a unique style, maybe there’s a little bit of crossover now and then. I think Paul’s much more of an actor’s director who develops a really great connection with his actors and there’s a trust there that is invaluable. I think Terry’s inclination is less about the actor and performance and more about just a feeling, a glimpse in time. There’s so much movement and everything feels like its sort of flowing through space. Paul’s performances and characters feel a lot more grounded to me. So I think there are a lot of differences.

Paul goes into the editing process feeling like he knows exactly what he wants, and there ends up to be a lot of experimentation as there usually is with his process. But I think Terry walks in thinking, “I don’t know what I have,” -- this is for “The Thin Red Line” anyway -- “The script I wrote isn’t really the movie I want to make, so let’s go and see what we can do. Let’s mix up all these pieces, take out the dialogue and take out anything that’s linear, throw it up in the air and see what happens.” Paul’s approach is much different.

After working with Paul twice in the last 10 years, did the process change at all? Is he the same director he was a decade ago?
We both have had families. He’s got 3 kids now and that’s a huge difference. That can dramatically affect your work habits. I’ve also had one child since then. So it was really nice for us to get together again and have that connection and have more boundaries in our work habits and know that you need to stop at a certain time every night and go home to our families. That was a big difference but a very positive one.

Any plans for a future collaboration?
I hope so!

Are you getting on the “Inherent Vice” train?
I hope so. [laughs]

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Paul & Maya Expecting Child #4

It looks like some major congrats are in order again because according to US Weekly, Paul and partner Maya Rudolph are expecting their fourth child together. Their new baby will be joining daughters Pearl (7), Lucille (3) and son Jack (1½). Congratulations guys!

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

‘The Master' Valentines

See the full set on Facebook and share one with the able-bodied seaman in your life.

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Interview: Making ‘The Master' with Actress Madisen Beaty

Welcome to the fifth installment of "Making The Master," our series of in-depth interviews with some of the minds behind "The Master." We've spoken to many of the production's principal players (including writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, producer JoAnne Sellar, costume designer Mark Bridges and production designers Jack Fisk & David Crank) that helped bring the film to life and today we have an interview with actress Madisen Beaty. At just 16 years old, Madisen joined the cast as Freddie Quell's long lost love Doris Solstad, a spectre of purity who haunts Freddie throughout the film. She spoke to us about what makes the set of a PTA movie special, what it was like going head-to-head with Joaquin and also reveals the original title for the film. Enjoy.

Cigarettes & Red Vines: How did you first come to be aware of the film? Had you seen any of Paul’s previous films at that point?
Madisen Beaty: Yeah, I had actually seen part of “Magnolia” and I had seen “There Will Be Blood” and was a huge fan of it. I got an audition, just like any other audition, but it was actually for Amy Adams’ daughter [Elizabeth]. They gave me my sides and I went over them and went in and auditioned with Cassandra [Kulukundis, casting director], and I was in the middle of doing the scene when she stopped me. She was like, “You’re way too young for this.” There was a scene when she’s supposed to drop her robe and she’s like, “You’re 16. You’re not doing that.” And I was so bummed! But before I could even protest that she said, “There’s another role that I think you’d be perfect for so I’m going to give you the sides and you go over them for a sec and then I want to see you do them.” So she gave me the sides and I read them and did them for her. And then I went home and got a call that they wanted me to come and meet with Paul.

So I went back in and when I got there, they gave me new sides and in these news sides, I’m singing and kissing someone. And they told me that there would be an actor there to read with me. Then they left to go get Paul and Joaquin. So I’m sitting there freaking out, going “Oh my gosh.” I know that’s Joaquin and I’ve seen all his stuff online and I’m supposed to kiss him and I’m singing? What is this! So they came in and Paul introduced himself and then Joaquin introduced himself. And we did these new scenes and I was freaking out. Then I didn’t hear anything for like 2 weeks and then I heard that I got it. I remember later I was talking to Joaquin on set and was like, “Those were the longest two weeks of my life, you don’t understand!” And he goes, “Yeah, I kept asking Paul, ‘Did you tell her that she got the role?’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll get to it.’” [laughs] He’s just very relaxed in his whole process.

So it was just those two auditions that got you the role?
Yeah. Something interesting is [during the second audition] when we got to the scene where I’m supposed to sing “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)” by The Andrews Sisters. And I didn’t know the song at the time so when I got there, I told them, “I can go learn it and come back or I can sing something else for you. I don’t sing professionally, but I can sing okay.” And Paul was like, “Yeah, we’ll just skip that.” As we were filming I kept asking him, “Do you want to hear me sing?” And he was like, “No, we’ll get to it Madisen. It’s okay.” So fast-forward, it’s the day of filming the scene and I’m not joking, no one had heard me sing.

I’ve been working on it and practicing and even my parents hadn’t heard me. So we started rolling and I started singing and my dad described it, it was just shock on the set because no one knew that I could sing. So we did two or three takes but Paul wasn’t coming up to me. So finally I walked up to him like, “Paul, you gotta tell me. Is it good? I’m just singing! You didn’t give me anything.” And he goes, “Madisen, I figured either Doris would sing and it’d be kind funny and cute because she thinks she can sing but she can’t and she’s just letting Freddie in on her world. Or she’d sing like you did. And you should keep going.” I still can’t believe it to this day.

That must have been incredibly nervewracking.
I was pretty nervous but Paul’s set -- you hear people talk about it -- but it’s really just a different experience.

Did you have any idea that it would make it onto the soundtrack?
No, never in a million years. I was driving to an audition one day and my mom called me and said, “You might want to go online,” so I pulled up my phone and saw that I was on the soundtrack. It was very weird for me.

Did you get the entire script at some point or just the pages of scenes that you were in?
I just had the pages I was going to be in. I was bugging Paul and kept asking him, “Can I read the script? I’ll give it right back.” He said, “I just want you to know what Doris knows and I want to keep it that way.” And I thought that was just a Paul thing where he just lets you see what your part of the script is but now I know that Doris wasn’t even in the first couple drafts.

So did you not know what was going on in the rest of the film until you saw it for the first time?
I had no idea. All I knew was Doris. It’s interesting because she’s haunting Freddie throughout the entire film and the way they set it up to film, we did the screen test -- the screen test was me and Joaquin -- and the first week and a half of filming was me and Joaquin. Then that was a wrap for me so I left but I think Paul set that up so that the whole time, Joaquin could be pulling from that [experience]. Then they called me back about 2 months later and said that they added some scenes and wanted me to come back. This time I filmed in LA instead of San Francisco and when I came back it was so weird because Joaquin was different. The chemistry was a little off and I think it was because he’s such a method actor and he hadn’t seen me during that time.

So what was the scene you came back to film?
It’s hard to tell in the movie, you might get to see some more when the DVD comes out which is supposed to have some deleted scenes. But anything in the movie theatre, I just went and filmed in this gorgeous movie theatre downtown LA. The scene is when we’re sitting on the steps and it’s actually when I’m singing. Paul had me sing again and cut the first time I sing. We kinda redid a little bit of everything and talked about some more things. Then a lot of the scenes that we did in San Fran didn’t make the cut. But Paul’s so gracious that in the trailer [teaser #3], you see some of those deleted scenes.

How did you and Paul develop the character of Doris? In an earlier draft of the script, she’s referred to but has no scenes but clearly he had something else in mind in fleshing out the character.
We stuck to the sides at first and then when we actually got on set it was very free flowing and everything came out organically where we started going off script. I knew enough about Doris and Joaquin knew about Freddie and we would go way, way off script. Paul was so open to that. One morning we were filming a scene where Joaquin had just come back from the war and we’re sitting on the park bench. We were very flirty and we kissed and all that. Then we went to lunch and when we came back -- this was a scene that didn’t make the cut -- but we were fighting because I’m too young for him. Between takes Joaquin was cussing and kicking things and walking around and yelling at me and I was so confused.

While he’s doing that, Paul was like, “This is great! This is so great.” [laughs] And my 16 year old mind is just freaking out, I was so confused until finally I was like, “Paul, I’m so confused. You know I trust you but Joaquin’s over there and you’re over here.” And he goes, “Madisen, that’s Freddie. You’re Doris. You are down here and he’s bringing you down and you need to be bringing him up.” And all of a sudden it clicked where he’s not going to go and tell Joaquin to stop. So I walked back and was like, “Freddie, it’s okay.” And I started talking about how everything was going to be fine and the scene was completely different. Just having that control to be able to make the scene whatever I wanted to make it, I’ve never experienced that before and I don’t think I will for a long, long time. And it’s all Paul.

That kind of freedom must be great for an actor.
Oh, it’s wonderful. When you put him and Joaquin together, they’re both just so focused and there’s no limits for either of them. I think that’s what makes it so brilliant because there are no limits and when you don’t limit yourself, brilliant things come out.

All of your scenes in the film were with Joaquin, did you have any scenes with any of the other actors that didn’t make the cut?
There was definitely more with my mom [Mrs. Solstad played by Lena Endre]. There was a scene where I’m asking her to go out and they taught me how to say something in Norwegian that didn’t make it into the final film. But for the most part everything was focused on Joaquin. Something that never came out in the film, everyone always wonders how Freddie and Doris know each other. My character’s older brother was his friend growing up and they both went to war together. My older brother died in the war so Freddie was coming back to pay respects slash bring out this unspoken love because I’d been writing him these letters.

Were there any other Doris scenes that didn’t make it into the film?
Just the scene where we were fighting because of the age difference and how it wouldn’t work even though I wanted to make it work. When I first saw the cut I was so disappointed that it didn’t make it into the film but now looking back I’m really glad that it didn’t because when you watch it now, it’s like we’re not together because he couldn’t handle Doris’ love. Which I think is a better story than the age difference and it definitely makes it a different story.

You’ve already talked a bit about it but can you just describe what it was like as a young actress working with Joaquin who is just a force of nature in the film?
There’s really no limits for him. He’ll go off script and he’ll do his own thing. If he’s mad, he’s going to be really, really angry like, kicking the park bench. I think he even pulled it out of its root and kicked the park bench off the thing. [laughs] There’s just no limits, he’ll do anything. The scene where he comes and wakes me up when I’m sleeping...

When he tears the window screen out.
Yes. That was one of my favorite days of filming because both him and Paul were playing tricks on me. It’s was like 3am when I got to set and I’m awake as ever. Paul told me, “You are just way too awake,” as we were leaving the hotel. I was like, “Hi Paul! How are you? It’s 3am!” But I’m 16 so I don’t know what you would expect. So he said, “I want you to get to set. Don’t even go to makeup. Get in costume but don’t do anything else and I’ll meet you there.” So I got in costume and went to set and he walked me through the house and took me back to what was Doris’ room. And he said, “I know you don’t believe me but we’re not going to be filming for like an hour and I want you to just lay down and go to sleep. I’ll come wake you up before we film.” I was like, “Are you sure you’re going to wake me up?” He said, “Yeah, just go to sleep.”

My mom told me that as I forced myself to go to sleep, they closed the door and Paul told the crew to be quiet because I was sleeping. I’m just thinking about what the crew must be thinking of me working and I’m sleeping on the job! Then I woke up to this knocking and sat up and thought it was the door. Then I realized that Joaquin was at the window and thought, “Oh, I must’ve not heard them waking me up.” So I just went with it and did the scene. He was just supposed to kiss me but then he pulled off the screen and it became what you see. I’m pretty sure the take that you see is that first take when I had just woken up because of the way that I say the lines. I was so confused because I had just woken up.

So it did work!
[laughs] Yeah. As we went on filming and did a couple other takes, they had to take screens from around the house to keep going because he kept ripping the screens off. But that’s just Joaquin, he doesn’t care. He does what feels right and I followed that and I did what felt right. I think it’s the best way to bring a character to life because there’s no limits. That’s what you do in real life so when you see that onscreen, there’s something that’s so different about it that’s organic. That’s what’s so beautiful about Paul’s films because every single one of his films has that natural energy that is whatever you want it to be.

So what makes the set of a PTA movie different from any other set that you’ve been on?
There are sets that you go on where the crew just doesn’t work together, it’s like a puzzle where the energy is thrown off because these people don’t know each other and they’ve never worked together and different people don’t always mix well. One of the best things about Paul’s set is that he brings together everyone who he’s worked with before. Of course, there are some new people but most of them are people that he’s worked with for years. To see the crew work together and work so effortlessly and so naturally is great.

I remember coming back to the hotel from filming and there was a group of his crew hanging out in the lobby drinking wine together. They were like, “Madisen! Come on over here, bring your mom. Let’s talk!” We sat in the lobby with some of his crew and just shared stories. They’re so wonderful and they don’t get the recognition they deserve. Paul is so direct and he knows what he wants but he says it in a way where you have control. When Joaquin was angry and he pulled me aside, he didn’t go up to Joaquin and give him direction. He let me go up to him and kinda tweak it just a little bit so that the scene was different. Having that control is so empowering and him letting everyone do their own job and bring it together so effortlessly is what makes his sets so amazing.

Can you think of any other moments that stand out as being memorable or any stories you’d want to share?
Aside from filming, the experience I had afterwards [was definitely memorable]. I hoped I would get to go to the premiere but you never know how these things work. I was fortunate enough to be invited to Venice and after that to go to TIFF and after that to the New York premiere. That whole experience was absolutely amazing. Me and my mom and my manager went to Venice. It was a girls weekend and I’d barely been out of the country before! I’d seen the movie in LA with my dad before and I honestly didn’t like it at first. But it’s one of those films where you have to let it sit. Seeing it a second time, I fell in love with it.

I think part of it was sitting there [in Venice] with this audience that was reacting to everything, next to Joaquin and Phil [Seymour Hoffman] and Paul and Harvey [Weinstein] and JoAnne [Sellar] and Megan [Ellison]. Sitting there and watching the film with these people, it was this weird moment where it was like, “I don’t belong here. But I do.” Afterwards there was a standing ovation where me, Phil and Joaquin were standing and the whole theatre is turned to us and clapping. It was this weird moment because this is their film. I am a part of it definitely, but this is their film and they’re the ones who created it. So I kinda stepped to the side and Phil came over to me and grabbed my hand and pulled me back up and said, “You belong with us now, darling.”

That’s great.
That moment for me, was amazing. I might not have created this film but I’m a part of it and that goes back to the family that Paul creates with his crew. The way he makes everyone feel like they belong and it’s just a family that just is in it together. That’s really hard to do. I’ve been on so many sets where it’s not even comparable, none of them are comparable to Paul’s sets.

I know that the film didn’t land on a title until pretty late in the process. Were there any working titles along the way?
It was originally called “The Cause” but we weren’t supposed to say that obviously because it was [supposed to be kept] really quiet. When we were filming in San Francisco, wherever we went they were calling it the “Untitled Western” so no one knew who we were. But to everyone else it was known as “The Cause.” Whoever was aboard at the beginning of filming even got a shirt and a flask in the mail saying “Thank you for joining the production.” The flask said “The Cause” and the shirt had this little logo that said “The Cause.” I thought, “Oh, how cool. I’m going to get to wear this when it comes out.” Then they changed the name! But I like “The Master” better because I feel like it evolved and just from what scenes made it [into the film]. Paul had a story in his head and it definitely evolved as we filmed but I think what came out was better than what we had in the beginning.

Can you talk a little bit more about your first reaction to the movie, since you’d only really known about your piece of it, it must have been pretty crazy to finally see the whole thing.
I had 5 or 6 scenes and we filmed all of them but I didn’t know what would make it or how he would edit it. I originally sang in San Francisco on the front steps of my house but when you see the movie, I’m singing in the movie theatre [in LA]. So for me it was confusing because I wasn’t sure how it was going to translate to the film. My dad was guessing that maybe he’s just haunted and he’s imagining me in the movie theatre there with him. We knew that he got drunk because I had accidentally seen some other sides. [laughs] So when I finally saw it though I was able to follow it, it was still very confusing.

I don’t think it’s a film that you can watch once because there’s so much going on and so many underlying themes. So I wasn’t really sure if I was happy with what had been used, as far as my scenes go but then when I saw it the second time, I was able to watch it as an audience member instead of as an actor. Now I’ve seen it probably 5 or 6 times and still catch these little things. I’m really happy with what came out of my role now and think it’s best for the story. Paul was so nice to include some of the deleted scenes in the trailers he put out and I hear there’s going to be more on the DVD.

Did you have conversations with Paul about what the film was about or would he only really discuss what your piece of it was?
He was very conscious that I would only be focused on Doris and Freddie. Like I said, the first two weeks of filming and the screen test was Freddie and Doris. It was very focused on their relationship and how innocent and beautiful that it was. When I came back to set [2 months later] the energy was completely different. I know they had been doing some harder scenes and accidentally saw some sides of when he’s in the theatre drunk and The Master calls him. In the sides that I saw, The Master said, “Did she get to you Freddie? Did she get to you?” So I thought, “Oh it’s Doris. Maybe my character is haunting him the entire time and maybe that’s one of the themes of the movie.” But I really had no idea.

I kept asking Paul --I was probably the most annoying kid because I just kept asking him, -- “Am I the inciting incident? Am I the lock in?” if we’re talking script terms and he would not tell me. All he said was, “You are what Freddie wants and that’s what you need to remember. You are what’s pure to him and you are what keeps him anchored. You are the only one that has the control to have such a spell on him.” And to see what Joaquin did with that character once I got on set, it’s obviously Joaquin Phoenix but working with him is something completely different. And you have Phil and Amy and in person they’re all so wonderful. For me, as a young actor, it was an incredible experience and I was able to grow so much.

You’ve already worked with another especially notable director, David Fincher on “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button,” so I was just wondering if there were any similarities or differences in their approach with actors?
I love them both and they’re very different! [laughs] David is very focused on the little details -- it’s like the most miniscule things -- and he’s very set on the sides being the way they’re written. As you know he has a reputation for doing things 50 times over but I asked him about it and he said he does that so that we forget what we’re saying and focus more on the emotion. With Paul you start with the emotions and then the lines come instead of forgetting that they’re lines. They’re very different in the way that they work but they’re both so brilliant. A similarity is that you can see when they’re studying the monitor, they both have this love and they’re such perfectionists about it. But they’re so different in the way that they film and the way that their sets are run.

Are there any other directors on your wish list now that you’ve crossed these two off your list?
I remember wrapping ‘Benjamin Button’ and talking to my mom asking, “Well, what do I do now?” After that I went on auditions for smaller projects and for me it was an adjustment because I kinda got a big head working on that film. [laughs] It was like, “I’m gonna have this awesome career,” and then you go and do some other things. I did a Lifetime movie and there was the writers strike and then “The Master” came. And well, we thought we couldn’t do better but look, we’re still going. I don’t want to say too much but I definitely would love to work with obviously, Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson and more recently, David O. Russell. I love the directors that have their own language. With David and Paul, they both have their own language. And “Django [Unchained]” has got to be one of my favorite movies now. To see that, that is why I act: it’s the art of telling stories. When you meet artists who tell the stories in their own language, there’s something so beautiful about that. That’s what I love about it and that’s who I want to work with.

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