Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Official Look: Jared Leto As The Joker In 'Suicide Squad' First Official Look: Jared Leto As The Joker In 'Suicide Squad' Joss Whedon Says He Earned More Making 'Dr. Horrible' Than 'The Avengers,' Weighs In On Marvel Vs. DC Joss Whedon Says He Earned More Making 'Dr. Horrible' Than 'The Avengers,' Weighs In On Marvel Vs. DC Tom Hardy Met Mel Gibson And Made Him A Bracelet, Says Michael Fassbender Was "The Sh*t" In School Tom Hardy Met Mel Gibson And Made Him A Bracelet, Says Michael Fassbender Was "The Sh*t" In School Native Actors Walk Off Set Of Adam Sandler's 'Ridiculous 6' Over Disrespectful, Insulting Script Native Actors Walk Off Set Of Adam Sandler's 'Ridiculous 6' Over Disrespectful, Insulting Script Watch: Johnny Depp Rages As Whitey Bulger In First Trailer For Gangster Tale 'Black Mass' Watch: Johnny Depp Rages As Whitey Bulger In First Trailer For Gangster Tale 'Black Mass' Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' And More Added To Cannes Film Festival Lineup Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' And More Added To Cannes Film Festival Lineup First Look: Johnny Depp Goes Gangster In As Whitey Bulger In 'Black Mass' First Look: Johnny Depp Goes Gangster In As Whitey Bulger In 'Black Mass' Watch: Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Anne Hathaway, Michael Fassbender And More Talk The Art Of Acting Watch: Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Anne Hathaway, Michael Fassbender And More Talk The Art Of Acting Review: Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Starring Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson & More Review: Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Starring Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson & More Watch: Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, And More Talk The Art Of Filmmaking Watch: Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, And More Talk The Art Of Filmmaking Christopher Nolan's Favorite Sequence From His Movies Is The Airplane Kidnapping Scene From 'The Dark Knight Rises' Christopher Nolan's Favorite Sequence From His Movies Is The Airplane Kidnapping Scene From 'The Dark Knight Rises' Joss Whedon Calls Edgar Wright's 'Ant-Man' "The Best Script Marvel Ever Had," Warns Of Serialized Moviemaking Joss Whedon Calls Edgar Wright's 'Ant-Man' "The Best Script Marvel Ever Had," Warns Of Serialized Moviemaking The 41 Most Anticipated Movies Of Summer 2015 The 41 Most Anticipated Movies Of Summer 2015 Watch: First Teaser For 'Star Wars: Rogue One,' Plot Details Confirmed Watch: First Teaser For 'Star Wars: Rogue One,' Plot Details Confirmed Martin Scorsese's List Of 85 Must-See Films Martin Scorsese's List Of 85 Must-See Films The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki

NYFF: Director Peter Strickland Talks 'Berberian Sound Studio,' Toby Jones & The Forced Digital Revolution

Photo of Christopher Bell By Christopher Bell | The Playlist October 13, 2012 at 1:03PM

Aspiring filmmakers should take note of British helmer Peter Strickland -- with few shorts under his belt and a small wad of cash (about £25,000 which was spent mostly on film stock), the director headed to Hungary and shot an atmospheric, deeply nuanced movie and spent the next two years tweaking the edit and soundsphere. “Katalin Varga” was born, and though its distribution left something to be desired, the movie itself was one of the most impressive feature debuts in a long time -- cheaply shot on celluloid and highly masterful, absent were the hiccups or generous shots of people-talking-in-apartments that are contained in most first feature attempts.
0

Berberian Sound Studio
How was your relationship with Toby Jones?
It was fine, but I was very aware that he had worked with many noticeable directors... and then I come along with just one film under my belt. [laughs] I had a complex about that, which is my fault, but you always have a gauge of what a good director is so I was very self-conscious about how to convey what was in my mind to him. But early after the shoot I realized you shouldn’t get into that rut, just be who you are and not to worry about how another director would do it. Because he would never say that ‘so-and-so would do it this way.’ So it was good.

Berberian Sound Studio
He certainly delivered some fantastic work.
He doesn’t need much direction, which is a good thing. He kind of gets it. With the particular close ups and stuff like that, yes, but how he moves his face, how he conveys a lot, he just did his own stuff. We spoke a lot before about his character, and once he got that in his head he was on autopilot most of the time. With actors I only get involved if I feel that they’re not doing it in the right way or if the actor actually wants some help with it, but he actually seemed quite self-sufficient. We spoke a little after and he said that he felt that he wanted more guidance from me, which I can see in hindsight. When you’re directing a film you’re considering all these elements, especially this film which is a very visual machine, sometimes I could be quite vocal a machine looking good [laughs].

Just his face alone could drive a feature-length film. Jones has an interesting look with subtle mannerisms.
We did audition somebody else, and it’s a very tough role for an actor because he has to be nondescript and his emotional range is quite narrow, and he has to be very still. So how do you engage an audience for that amount of time? I mean, until I got to the edit I would just look at him and be like ‘Oh, god, I missed that on set but that’s something else.’ But definitely, I realize that with actors you have to give them more attention, even if they’re getting it right. You have to put yourself in their shoes and realizing that it’s their face on the screen.

Berberian Sound Studio
Another great thing is seeing him in a lead role like this. He doesn’t generally get that opportunity...
He did ‘Infamous.’

Yeah but then ‘Capote’ came out and stole his thunder... and now with the Hitchcock movies...
Oh, right. There’s no second ‘Berberian’ though. It’s funny, Toby and the Italians had very different ways of working.

That’s kind of fitting, given the relationship between their characters.
...Yeah... [laughs]. I mean, there were good days and there were bad days. For rehearsals, Toby loves going through a scene with the words and emotions, that’s his springboard. Blocking, camera angles, that all comes afterwards. Cosimo Fusco, who plays Francisco, he works the other way: movement dictates words. You get the same results at the end, but different sidewalks. Some days when you’re tired it’s like... oh god... which one do I please this morning?

This article is related to: Peter Strickland, Berberian Sound Studio, Interview, New York Film Festival


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates