Roundtable Interview with Adam Wingard
And Simon Barrett (writer) of “The
, September 11, 2014
How have things changed for you now that you’re making bigger-budget
There’s a kind of responsibility that goes along with that.
As a Director, I find that when you have more
access to all the tools, you have to really think clearly, like, “Am I using
this because I can use this?”
Like, “Am I putting a crane shot in here
because it’s cool, or am I using this because it actually fits with the
movie?” Obviously, when you have a certain amount of money for a film, you
don’t want the movie to look cheaper than your budget---if anything, you
want it to look more. But you always want those tools to be used for the right
remember when I was in film school, whenever we’d get further in the
program, like getting to use the sound stage, the first thing everybody wants
to do is just use all the equipment, like all the dolly shots. And I think
that’s the wrong approach in a film.
You have to actually use those tools
appropriately and not get overwhelmed just because you have them.
This is the first time I actually had access to a
steady cam every day, and that was an interesting learning curve process.
But even beyond that, we’re in a bracket now
where we can afford, well, I wouldn’t say better actors, necessarily, than
the ones we worked with before, but people who actually do acting for a
No, it’s true. A
lot of our earlier films were improvisation-heavy, because that’s the best
way to get a performance out of non-actors, because whenever you’re trying
to get a reality out of something, sometimes the best way is to eliminate the
idea of performance at all.
So you can’t have a bad performance.
Yeah, as a professional actor myself, it’s harder to do scripted
dialogue than just being yourself, something that’s organic to how you
yes, we had a bigger palette for this film, and I hope that as the budget
continues to get bigger, we can push our comfort levels.
I know as a viewer, I’m entertained by films
where I can’t totally predict what’s coming next.
And I think Adam feels the same way, and that’s
the experience we want to bring to our audience members.
Too often I can’t enjoy a movie because I’m
so actively being insulted by its predictability.
Yeah, like in the standard Hollywood version of this film, it would
have started with David breaking out of the military hospital, but instead,
Simon actually begins as if the movie has already started, and we’re just
picking it up, but what that does is create a whole different aesthetic.
There’s no reason to hide that David is
ominous, but we enjoyed doing the perspective shift.
Yeah, like everyone else here, we both enjoy movies, and have seen a
lot of movies, so we can indulge in a kind of cinematic shorthand:
“Yes, we’ve seen that, so let’s skip that
and go somewhere else.” Ideally, we make films that are smarter than us.
wasn’t smart enough to understand the role of the government agents----
Yeah, well, it’s supposed to be this corporation, because we were
commenting on the way some of these defense contractors can go off the rails a
little bit, and there’s no real oversight.
But that’s intentionally non-specific.
Actually, in the first cut of the film there was more description of
this program, but we always test our films very early with different types of
audiences, and the “through line” that we found in these test screenings
was that people actually felt that there was too much information.
Everybody already has the Bourne Identity
shorthand of what a super-soldier is, so the information wound up being
superfluous and distracting from the story, so we cut it.
You just have to weigh the pros and cons.
Usually a re-shoot is giving more information,
Yeah, we found that audiences responded more to the ambiguity.
And once we made the cuts, we both did, as well.
That’s why we did all those “push-in” shots of David.
We want you (the viewer) to make up your own mind
about what’s going on inside his head.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister,
St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,