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Watch Carey Mulligan in a Scene From ‘Wildlife’ | Anatomy of a Scene

December 26, 2019


My name is Paul Dano. I am the director
of “Wildlife.” This is a film about family. And right now,
the father, Jerry, played by Jake Gyllenhaal,
has left his family to go and fight
these forest fires. And the mother, Jeanette,
played by Carey Mulligan, is taking her son on
an unexpected journey to go see them. Right now, we’re passing what
is called the stage-up, where all the firefighters stay. We went through a lot of
work to get some period cars and costumes and all these
extras muddied up, all for one shot. Because we wanted
to sort of keep it from the kid’s point of view. We didn’t want to break that. So a lot of work for
one passing shot. I really like
these shots here, because it’s sort
of a super simple and really muscular way
to sort of old school, like car driving, again,
because it’s sort in line with our kid’s POV here. But frankly, we did not
have the budget for, like, some huge jib arm swinging
off of a truck to, like, circular a camera
around the car. And that was not the aesthetic
of this film anyways. I was really trying to keep
things simple and clear and kind of get to the essence
of whatever the moment was. Here, Joe, played
by Ed Oxenbould, is stepping out of the car to
look at something that we’ve really heard quite a bit
about in the film thus far, but we haven’t yet seen it. This is a scene
that was really inspired by the location. We’re in Paradise
Valley in Montana. It’s a really magical place. I had this moment in my head
when writing it for years, and, as soon as we scouted,
suddenly thought of a new way to reveal the fire
in this film that felt really exciting to me. “Do you like it?” “No.” By basically withholding
the information — I’ve always liked that in
film, the way information is revealed. “You had to see what
he finds so important. I’m sorry we both can’t
sympathize with him.” “And then going
to this close-up before revealing what the
kid is actually looking at, and just trying to really be
sort of sucked into his face and into his inner life. And here, this is
a point when making a film, where every director
says, it has to be real. It has to be real. And then, of course,
you’re making a film, and somebody tells you,
you can’t do it for real. So this was the only
shot in the film that I really wanted to burn
the heck out of something. And it’s probably too
dangerous and expensive. So we used some good trickery
and a wonderful VFX team at Digital District. And we worked for a long
time on this one shot.” [fire blazing]

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