Emily Mortimer Breaks Down the “Ritual” of a Martin Scorsese Set

     July 16, 2020

As we inch closer to sharing our full episode of Collider Ladies Night with Emily Mortimer, we’ve got one last clip to highlight for you! A good chunk of the chat focuses on her new movie, Relic, but Mortimer also took the time to go back to the beginning of her career and revisit the road that brought her there. The early days included gigs like The Ghost and the Darkness and then she crossed paths with Wes Craven for Scream 3, an experience that sparked a vital, long-lasting collaboration between the two. Then, a little later on, she landed on not one but two Martin Scorsese sets, Shutter Island and Hugo.

Even with a mighty long filmography at that point, it’s still got to be a nerve-racking experience stepping onto the set of one of the most legendary filmmakers of all time. Mortimer admitted that there was an intimidation factor, but one with a very positive spin to it:

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Image via Paramount

“Walking onto his sets, it’s like walking into church or something. Really, it’s like you could hear a pin drop and everybody just knows their place. There is a kind of ritual to the whole thing. It’s like all these people who’ve been working with him for years and years, and adore him and are adored by him. But everybody from the person that’s bringing you your cup of tea to the sound person, to the costume designer, Sandy Powell, they’re all at the absolute top of their game. They are all the most brilliant people in our industry and to be surrounded by those people and to be able to have the benefit of their expertise is so crazy, it’s so wonderful and it is really intimidating but in the best way. I don’t know, there’s something about working with people who are so good at what they do and working with Martin Scorsese who’s so good at what he does that the terror and the horror of the situation is completely mitigated by the fact that they are so expert and so good.” 

Even with an Academy Award win and 13 nominations to his name, there’s something quite pure and simple fueling a Martin Scorsese set – his love of movies. Here’s how Mortimer put it:

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Image via Warner Bros.

“The reason that he makes movies is because he loves movies. He’s a cinephile, bar none, and so there’s such enthusiasm for the process of making a film and he’s so un-grand about it and every shot that he’s creating … you’re lying in this scene so I’m gonna put the camera above your head because in every Hitchcock scene when a character’s lying or not telling the truth, the camera’s looking down at them from higher than they are. And he just is getting such a kick  out of it that you do too, and it doesn’t feel precious; it just feels very precise and good. He has a great talent that the great filmmakers have of just somehow by some osmosis or something, you understand the world that you’re in, that you understand the world that he’s creating and you know half your job is done because he lets it be clear what the world is and you can just enter it and go with it.”

That’s it for now, but we’ve got loads more from Mortimer coming your way tomorrow in her full episode of Collider Ladies Night! Keep an eye out for that to hear all about how she got into acting, how her husband Alessandro Nivola helped nudge her career in the right direction, what it was like making Relic with Natalie Erika James, and loads more.

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