‘Breaking Down the Movie’ Episode 1: Director Derek Cianfrance on THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

     April 19, 2013

Breaking Down the Movie Derek Cianfrance Place Beyond the Pines slice

Over the past eight years I’ve interviewed a lot of directors, and I’ve always wanted to shake up the format.  After all, almost every interview you read in print or online consists of a lot of the same questions and answers, and I wanted to offer the readers of Collider something different.  After a bit of brainstorming, I decided to do an interview series that allows a director to talk about what they do in greater detail: directing.  Instead of focusing on the basic questions (why they cast a certain actor in a role or how tough it was to land financing) this new interview series – which I’m calling “Breaking Down the Movie” – will showcase a director speaking at length about specific footage from their movie and explaining how and why they made key decisions on set.  And for episode 1 I landed The Place Beyond the Pines director Derek Cianfrance.

During the interview Cianfrance breaks down a few clips from his film and talks about how he likes to shoot a scene, the amount of improv, how many takes were used, the look of Ryan Gosling‘s character and how that affected his performance, the benefit of shooting out of chronological order and shooting a take without dialogue, trying to shoot with real people in the background, future projects, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

place-beyond-the-pines-bradley-cooper-derek-cianfrance-set-photoFinally, as I have said many times, The Place Beyond the Pines is one of the best films you’re going to see this year.  The pic centers on a professional motorcycle rider turned bank robber (Ryan Gosling) and a rookie police officer (Bradley Cooper).  Saying more would be detrimental to your enjoyment of the film, and I would encourage you to be very careful when reading about it.  Pines also stars Eva Mendes, Bruce Greenwood, Dane DeHaan, Ray LiottaBen MendelsohnEmory Cohen, and Rose Byrne.

Here’s Cianfrance and I talking about his movie.  Let me know what you think about this new format in the comments.  While I don’t plan on doing this with every director, I do hope to do more of them.

the-place-beyond-the-pines-poster-ryan-goslingDerek Cianfrance:

  • 1:10 – First clip
  • 2:20 – Talking about an “echo scene” and how scenes in the film double each other.
  • 3:15 – The number of takes required for this scene, and Cianfrance combines different takes to create a performance.
  • 5:25 – How he shoots a film, and allowing for freedom of the photography.
  • 8:11 – How the elliptical moments sprung from a script that was cheated from 158 pages down to 120 pages.
  • 9:27 – Reason for deleting scenes.
  • 10:29 – Second clip
  • 11:29 – The benefit of shooting out of chronological order, and shooting a take without dialogue.
  • 13:53 – Designing the look of Gosling’s character and how that affected the actor’s performance.
  • 16:13 – Trying to shoot with real people in the background, and asking extraordinary actors to play ordinary people.
  • 18:53 – Third clip
  • 19:55 – Acting in the film Towheads.
  • 21:33 – The status of his documentaries Cagefighter and Metalhead.
  • 23:36 – What he’s working on right now.


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