Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Gaspar Noé's List of 10 Favorite Films Makes Perfect, Terrifying Sense Gaspar Noé's List of 10 Favorite Films Makes Perfect, Terrifying Sense Jon Hamm Wants You to Know There's Hope for Don Draper After 'Mad Men' Jon Hamm Wants You to Know There's Hope for Don Draper After 'Mad Men' Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt Of Time & Life: How 'Mad Men' Remade Television Of Time & Life: How 'Mad Men' Remade Television Nikki Finke Returns Nikki Finke Returns Cannes Goes Crazy for Jeremy Saulnier's Gruesome Neo-Nazis vs. Punks Horror 'Green Room' Cannes Goes Crazy for Jeremy Saulnier's Gruesome Neo-Nazis vs. Punks Horror 'Green Room' Cannes Festival Is Dominated by Two Hollywood Masters Cannes Festival Is Dominated by Two Hollywood Masters Top Ten Takeaways: Sequels Rule as Women Boost 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Also Strong Top Ten Takeaways: Sequels Rule as Women Boost 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Also Strong Cannes: Directors from Fincher to Scorsese Revisit Truffaut's Famous Interview with Hitchcock Cannes: Directors from Fincher to Scorsese Revisit Truffaut's Famous Interview with Hitchcock 'Pitch Perfect 2' Outperforms 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; 'Ultron' Is Now Top 2015 Release 'Pitch Perfect 2' Outperforms 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; 'Ultron' Is Now Top 2015 Release Kristen Stewart Re-Teams with Her 'Sils Maria' Director for Ghost Story Set in Fashion World Kristen Stewart Re-Teams with Her 'Sils Maria' Director for Ghost Story Set in Fashion World Watch: Netflix's Ted Sarandos Heckled at Cannes, Gets Weinstein on His Feet During Heated Debate (VIDEO) Watch: Netflix's Ted Sarandos Heckled at Cannes, Gets Weinstein on His Feet During Heated Debate (VIDEO) George Miller and DP John Seale Go Inside 'Mad Max: Fury Road': "It Was Like Being in a Video Game" George Miller and DP John Seale Go Inside 'Mad Max: Fury Road': "It Was Like Being in a Video Game" Natalie Portman's Passion Project 'Tale of Love and Darkness' Splits Cannes Critics Natalie Portman's Passion Project 'Tale of Love and Darkness' Splits Cannes Critics Cannes: 'Dogtooth' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Scores with Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' (Review and Roundup) Cannes: 'Dogtooth' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Scores with Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' (Review and Roundup) Weinstein Co. Offers Strong Slate at Cannes Weinstein Co. Offers Strong Slate at Cannes 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Auteur George Miller Does It His Way, No Matter How Long It Takes 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Auteur George Miller Does It His Way, No Matter How Long It Takes The Top 20 Episodes of 'Mad Men' The Top 20 Episodes of 'Mad Men' How the 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Score Paid Homage to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' How the 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Score Paid Homage to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A)

Immersed in Movies: Editors Joel Cox and Gary Roach Talk 'Prisoners'

Photo of Bill Desowitz By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood September 27, 2013 at 1:10PM

Clint Eastwood's editors Joel Cox and Gary Roach discuss taking time out to get under the skin of Denis Villeneuve's provocative "Prisoners."
1
Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman in "Prisoners"
Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman in "Prisoners"

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.

Prisoners

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."

The crucial thing was maintaining a balancing act between Jackman's enraged father and Gyllenhaal's aloof cop, both of whom have demons to confront during the horrific ordeal. In fact, Gyllenhaal came up with a whole backstory about being an orphan and a social misfit that create a sense of mystery about his character.

"We had a tough job being that the film was three-and-a-half hours long on the first cut," Cox adds, "so to take an hour out we were still able to keep the story intact with those moments that were very necessary to make this film work."

What did they cut? There were additional story points involving the older kids (in one version, they discover that prime suspect Paul Dano has been abducted by Jackman). And there was an intense scene with Viola Davis, who insists on killing Dano and burning down Jackman's apartment so there's no evidence linking her and her husband (Terrence Howard).

This article is related to: Prisoners, Immersed In Movies, Interviews, Interviews


E-Mail Updates






Festivals on TOH