Backstage Interview | 84th Academy Awards

Film Editing

CATEGORY: Film Editing
INTERVIEW WITH: Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
FILM: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"


Q. Coming at THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is a completely different movie from THE SOCIAL NETWORK. What were some of the challenges in cutting this kind of movie?
A. [Kirk Baxter] Its length.
A. [Angus Wall] Yeah. The screenplay was much, much longer than THE SOCIAL NETWORK so there's the proportional amount of footage and performance to go through was just a much a bigger task in a lot of ways.
A. [Baxter] and If it was being written like conceptive for a film, I think it would have been a different thing, but it came from a book and you have to kind of work with what you had. So it was a new way to kind of Zaillian did a terrific job, but it was a challenge.

Q. I was just wondering, Best Picture and Best Editing seems to go hand in hand over the past probably 30 years, and I was wondering, first of all, why, you know, why are they so intertwined, traditionally, and why this year the exception?
A. [Wall] I think we definitely thought they went hand and hand, too. I think we were genuinely surprised. I don't ever remember being so surprised in my life when they called us, quite honestly. I think they go hand in hand because
A. [Baxter] They're one and the same thing, and that's the end result you're looking for is the final outcome of the film. What you're working towards in the editing.

Q. I happened to have a chance to talk to Jeff Cronenweth about this film earlier and he talked about the differences between SOCIAL NETWORK and this and partly using the Swedish or Nordic palette, not only the landscape, but even the work of the Swedish film artist like Sven Nyquist. So the fact that this already exists as a foreign film and is literally and sort of figuratively a different language, did that affect the rhythms at all with the editing like compared to an American based story like THE SOCIAL NETWORK?
A. [Wall] Well, luckily it's in English so we didn't have to deal with really foreign language, and I think the cadence of the actors is what it is, I mean regardless of whether they have a Swedish bent or not, the job, the task at hand for us is very much the same.
A. [Baxter] Are they laughing at you?
A. [Wall] No. I'm assuming something happened on the show.

Q. Hi guys, congratulations. We were wondering how much David Fincher give you direction in order to do the editing knowing that it was different from the Swedish film, how different was it for you actually doing that kind of editing knowing that so many people have seen the original?
A. [Baxter] The original, I mean I can only speak for myself but the original film was I don't know if this is a harsh word, it was irrelevant to me because I'm being responsive to what Fincher shot, so it doesn't matter if ten million movies came before it. We're reacting to what David gives us as a director.

Q. Number two in a row. Are you getting used to this now? You seem genuinely surprised. I think you thought you would have no hope?
A. [Baxter] We weren't expecting it at all and there's no getting used to this. This is a very absurd place to be standing.
A. [Wall] Quite so.

Q. Of the footage that you had to cut, was there anything that you particularly were sorry about or was just gorgeous but you had to cut it?
A. [Wall] No.
A. [Baxter] No. We were very happy with the end result of the movie. There was nothing we wish that was in there that we cut out. It stopped when it was at its best.

Q. Hi, congratulations. I think you've talked about being surprised. Do you know how much Oscar geeks focus on the editing category? I guess I'm not geeky enough. I don't know how many years it's been. The editing category is supposed to lead to best picture. Were you aware of the whole streak, and again were you aware that in terms of Oscar geek the odds were against you?
A. [Baxter] I think we were flabbergasted when we were standing there, kind of speaks for itself. Movies have momentum behind them. There's a few films this year that have that momentum. Our movie wasn't nominated for Best Picture so it was surprising for us.
A. [Wall] I think, you know what, this is kind of a win for David because he's our sort of the third wheel of our little tricycle.
A. [Baxter] Front wheel.
A. [Wall] The big wheel in front. I kind of consider it a win for him.


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