most important thing is always: story, story, story."
you tell us about your background?
been editing for well over 20 years now. Of course I on film,
35mm film long before the days of digital non-linear systems
AVID and Final Cut Pro. I've had the privilege to work with many
great directors as you said Ridley Scott, I actually worked as
first assistant editor on his first film The Duelists
with Harvey Keitel, also worked with Mike Newell, and a particularly
interesting experience to work with Terry Gilliam on The
Adventures of Baron Munchausen, shot in Rome and in
Cinecitta and we finished that movie at Pinewood Studios, the
biggest studio then. And now this is
wonderful for me: this is a New York street and we're on a studio
in Sofia [note: this interview was conducted while the picture
was still in production]. And this whole set has many streets
and they're extending it but this is the base for the new film
I'm on called Command Performance, written,
starring and being directed by Dolph Lundgren.
how did get involved in it?
first assistant director, Mark Roper, made a call to an agent
who knew me, my name was put forward, and after a number of phone
calls I actually put together a teaser for them, where Dolph
was sort of drumming, I cut that together, we uploaded it, Dolph
liked it, and then we went from there really. I flew over and
started here, on then they were already shooting for a week when
it was sort of luck...
like all things in this business, you know one phone call can
change your life, you never really know what's gonna happen!
So this has introduced me to Bulgaria, I've never worked here
before, this is a very interesting studio. I've always loved
to, I've never worked on a full action picture like this one,
so this is given me editorially some great scopes, great opportunities.
So I'm really looking forward to that. Dolph is a wonderful guy,
a good director and I'm really looking forward to working with
you have a general discussion of what he wants in terms of editing
style and want to get across?
we've had a number of discussions about the style of the film
and the sort of character he plays, Joe. But you know like all
these things, the relationship with a director grows over a period
of time during the shoot and certainly in post-production, more
so in post-production because he'll have more time to discus
the edit, at the moment he's fully committed to the shoot so
I'll see him a few times a week, we speak a lot we email each
other, I'll send him cut material on DVD and we're proceeding
in that fashion. Today I'm going over there (on the set) to show
some cut material of recent scenes to discuss the need of close
cover on the character Joe so that's something I'm gonna do today.
But generally I just keep up with the editing as the dailies
you have references of editors or movies that you can inspire
from for "Command Performance"?
it's difficult, I'm not exactly sure in what direction Dolph
wants to go in. I've got some colleagues, fellow editors like
Stuart Baird (who's a Brit editor who's recently he finished
a picture called Vanishing Point which is an action picture),
he's worked on a lot of pictures with Dick [Richard] Donner,
he's a great friend and colleague and his style of editing is
very fast.I think there's a few films that Marc Windon the DP,
the director of photography, is using as references for the shoot,
and in a way that effects the editing as well: The Bourne
Ultimatum, Bourne Supremacy, this sort of pictures, Man
On Fire the Tony Scott movie with Denzel Washington, there's
another one I can't remember the name of but you know, these
pictures like Paul Greengrass movies where the camera is searching
for the subject. It's not put the camera on a tripod here
and we'll shoot this way, then put the camera there and we'll
shoot in that direction etc.The style is much free-willing,
you've got generally two cameras, sometimes three, and they're
sort of covering the scene in a searching way, almost documentary
style. The camera has to find the action so it gives it a sort
of energy and a style, reminiscent of a lot of these films we
there's a tendency to film and cut the action in a way that as
an audience you're not always quite sure what's going on and
it sometimes feels like overkill...
you're absolutely right. This is something I'm aware of and I'd
like to avoid those problems. What happened is I think it's grown
now to two things. One is the editing, the new editing technology
that we have today, the ease with which it is to cut material
together, many many shots and experiment. And there's a tendency
top make things too busy, it's easy trap to fall into where,
going back to my early days in film, editing was a different
style because when you had to physically cut film you had to
consider very carefully how you presented that scene.So I'm gonna
pay particularly attention to that in this. Because there are
moments when you want a period of calm within a frenetic scene,
throwing out the emotion, and you might not be able to see it
in the scene. Many times I've seen the visual pyrotechnic choreography
of the scene but in the end it's a bit cold because there's no
emotion, just crash bang bang bang: lots of energy
but no content.
seems from the footage I've seen that it already has an energy
that would allow to balance fast pace with story and character...
that's interesting you should say that. I think that's very much
the approach that I'm gonna try and bring to the project. The
camera work already has a built-in energy and a frenetic, documentary-style
quality, with a good visual style: that's the richness I've got
to play with. What I want to inject really is those emotional,
quieter moments, those more satisfying moments, again from a
more traditional standpoint, mixing the old with the new if you
like. I think that's the way to look at it.The most important
thing is always: story, story, story. This picture has very strong
story, and within it, there are scenes that are shootouts etc,
it's a chase picture, it's a great genre to work in but within
that, I want introduce the human touch, the frailty, the sensitivities
of Joe, a man alone within this, he didn't asked for it and yet
he's involved in this.
do you think of Dolph Lundgren's vision as a director who's also
I think it's fantastic, he's clearly somebody who can be great
in both roles, and I think there's very few people who can do
that, I'm thinking of the most obvious one, Clint Eastwood.
is actually one of Dolph's major inspirations...
Clint Eastwood had such an incredible career and successfully
blended those two roles. Not easy to do. And I think that Dolph
can achieve that. I think it's just about blending the script,
the story, the film of it and, obviously I'm very conscious of
the post-production and the power of editing and what it can
do for a story.