‘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.


  • Chris

    I think you nailed it! Hopefully more directors can sit down with you so you can continue putting these out.

  • Liam

    Steve, thanks for doing this! Love this approach and idea. I hope you get to do it more often and without a time limit!

  • Chris

    Nailed it. Can’t wait to see more.

  • zac

    Brilliant! love it! thanks!

  • George

    Frosty this is an awesome idea great interview keep up the good work !!!

  • Anon

    Yes! Do more of these!

  • Ric

    very interesting interview Steve! keep up the good work ;)

  • Kevin Curtin

    Thanks so much for this! It’s awesome!

  • Sam

    I really enjoyed this. Great questions Steve and I hope you can do more of this type of interview.

  • randommale7

    loved it please do more Frosty

  • bob

    Good. You should let scenes on repeat so the director could add comments.

  • Brenan Marchisio

    Awesome idea and interview. Hope you can keep this goin

  • Bill Graham

    There’s some really cool and new information here, but there’s a lot of repeat information as well. I’ve heard the shrink font story before. I’ve heard the tattoo thing before. These are long, drawn-out explanations of things that I have heard/read elsewhere. For me, this should be nearly all new information because it’s an entirely different way of breaking down the film. So the questions should focus on the newness of this.

    • sedna

      the world does NOT revolve around YOU.

    • Quasimotto

      U seem like a bad person.

      • Jenkins

        you seem like a failure at life

  • Chills

    Great great great idea. Thank you.

  • Dimi93

    This was a fucking awesome video interview about the movie, hopefully frosty does one with Guillermo Del Toro on Pacific rim.

    • Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub

      perhaps I already asked him…

  • James

    Very cool Steve! I saw this last weekend and absolutely loved it! I want to see it again before it leaves theaters. Can’t wait to pick up the bluray.

  • Pingback: Ryan Gosling Images from THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES | Collider

  • sedna

    Thank you for this, Frosty! PLEASE keep this alive! this is very helpful for other filmmakers!

  • Pingback: Derek Cianfrance analyzes scenes from The Place Beyond The Pines | filmschoolthrucommentaries

  • Andres

    Great work, it’s nice to see someone exploring new ways to interview directors instead of just sticking to the regular Q&A. Keep it up.

  • lefty

    As an aspiring director, this is really awesome to watch. Please do more.

  • Nick

    Great job! I’ve been nitpicking any news about this movie since you first said it was amazing back at TIFF. I really enjoy all of your interviews and really dig this new interview format. I love to get an insiders view at a movie, and being able to hear it directly from the director is great! Than you very much for your work and please keep at it!!

  • Jay

    This was awesome. Really insightful!

  • Brent

    This is really creative, but the only thing I really don’t like is the fact that the directors are exposing their process a bit to much .

  • Chase

    Really great article. Enjoyed reading and would like to see another!! Keep up the good work!!!

  • EVM

    You are the whitest genie I have ever seen.

  • Franklin

    Please do more videos like this. I really love those nitty gritty questions like how many takes were done of a scene, where does the director stand in relation to the camera etc.

  • Othello

    Love the insight. Keep up the good work.

  • victor willis

    Very excited when I found this interview, really good questions to ask what we film people always want to know more about but never to get hear, especially from my favorite director. Anxious to see Derek Cianfrance’s new material, no matter what it is.

  • Pingback: Derek Cianfrance Breaks Down Scenes from 'The Place Beyond the Pines' « No Film School