We here at The Rushmore Academy are fans of all types of films, including those of director Darren Aronofsky whose Black Swan has very deservedly been making the awards rounds this year. Wes is a fan too, and sat down with the editor of the film Andrew Weisblum for HitFix ahead of the upcoming Oscars, for which Weisblum is nominated. The two have a deeper connection than mutual admiration though, Weislbum edited both The Darjeeling Limited and Fantastic Mr. Fox. The full conversation can be found at HitFix and after the jump. Thanks to Yankee Racer jexxica for the tip.
Editing is one art form that moviegoers rarely have a firm grasp on. The process is hardly as easy as just cutting from one shot to another. Different directors have different editing techniques to make their shot material work and some filmmakers don’ even know how a film is going to come together until they get in the editing room. This years best editing nominees include “The Fighter” (deft), “127 Hours” (pace setting), “The Social Network” (intricate), “The King’s Speech” (old school) and “Black Swan” (deliberate). The latter film owes just as much of its town to Andy Weisblum’s work as to fellow nominees Mathew Libatique (cinematography) and director Darren Aronofsky.
Weisblum has hit another level in his career after successive collaborations with both Aronofsky on “The Wrestler” and “Swan” as well as Wes Anderson on “The Darjeerling Limited” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Fox Searchlight passed along this transcript of a conversation on Skype between Anderson and Weisblum and it’s worth a read not just for more background on the creative process for “Swan,” but on how Anderson views editing and his intriguing interview skills.
Shall we begin the interview process?
I think I once read an interview with Peter Weir where he said that he did two movies in a row, Witness and then Mosquito Coast, and he said Mosquito Coast was the most difficult movie to edit that he had ever worked on — it took a long time to cut and it was a struggle — and Witness was just assembled and then he was done. Where does ‘Black Swan’ fall on that spectrum of difficulty?
If you take ‘Mosquito Coast’ and you cram it into the ‘Witness’ schedule, you have our experience. It was a pretty intense, concentrated raw period working on that movie. There was a lot of technical logistics and other things that the movie required from us. It was difficult both technically and psychologically, but we got out on the other side.
What was your biggest challenge?
Performances weren’t a challenge in that they were all there. It was really just a question of calibrating it correctly to get from point A to point B through the course of the movie and letting her insanity spill over. The biggest challenge in the movie is the tone, because it’s not a simple thing to define. It’s not strictly horror, it’s not strictly scary, it’s not strictly campy. It’s kind of all those things. You take this ballet and you put it in this new setting and put realism on top of it and you have this curious hybrid that we had to play with to make it feel satisfying, comfortable and engaging.