The Road to Cinema Podcast shares a detailed discussion on film editing with Oscar winning “Whiplash” editor Tom Cross who is one of the editors on director David O. Russell’s new film “Joy” opening on December 25th. Cross shares an in-depth analysis of his work on the masterfully crafted musical drama “Whiplash” directed by Damien Chazelle and featuring an Oscar winning performance by J.K. Simmons as a hard-as-nails music teacher who will go to any length to drive perfection into his music students with Miles Telller in his cross hairs. As you will see in the scene below and learn on the podcast, the beauty and craft of “Whiplash” is derived from the audience’s emotional connection to the performances of Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons in-sync with the sound design, music score, and perfect sense of camera placement and editorial instincts of editor Tom Cross. Cross also shares some insights into his new collaboration with “Whiplash” director Damien Chazelle on his new musical dramedy “La La Land” which stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. (By the way, 2014 was a phenomenal year for uniquely conceived films: “Whiplash”, “Boyhood”, “Birdman”, “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Each film is its own entity and draws few comparisons to other similar films, simply because there aren’t any…)
Editor Tom Cross after winning an Oscar for “Whiplash” earlier this year at the Academy Awards ceremony.
Cross is articulate and passionate about his editing process which made it a wonderful treat to dig into his filmmaking wisdom in our hour long conversation. On his new film “Joy”, Cross is one of 4 editors credited and we learn how director David O. Russell has a unique collaboration with his editors and how this process is informed by the way Russell initially shoots his scenes during production. Jennifer Lawrence plays real life housewife turned inventor Joy Mangano whose initial languish in the doldrums of day-to-day suburban ennui provides a springboard for Joy to create a one-of-a-kind mop and sell it through a one-of-a-kind landmark marketplace, QVC in its infancy. In one of the rare uniquely executed films this year, Russell soaks into the details of the Mangano family and allows his actors the looseness to explore these roles to their full potential while capturing the story through a classic cinematic aesthetic. “Joy” pays homage to classic provincial Hollywood films such as “The Magnificent Ambersons” while imbued with the spirit of directors of that era such as Orson Welles, William Wyler, Frank Capra, George Stevens, Billy Wilder, and George Cukor. Russell’s craft as a director is fed from his dedication to research as a writer. He spoke directly with Joy and other members of Mangano’s family to find the richness and nuanced details that made them unique. Even the supporting characters of “Joy” have more nuance and texture than many of the lead characters in a majority of this year’s lackluster Oscar contenders. The supporting players are so interesting that you could spin-off another film from each and every one of them, from the soap opera obsessed Virginia Madsen to the shrewd heiress Isabella Rossellini, the competitive QVC hosts hawking jewelry on a fledgling cable network, and their fearless leader Bradley Cooper whose dreams of being a classic Hollywood studio head drive QVC beyond its expectations. Kudos to Russell for going by the old adage that no role is too small. Not only is Russell’s dedication to creating layered characters true in “Joy” but you can see this dedication in every one of his films from “Spanking the Monkey”, “Flirting with Disaster”, “Three Kings”, “I Heart Huckabees” (a personal favorite), “The Fighter”, “Silver Linings Playbook”, and “American Hustle.”
Watch this conversation with Writer/Director David O. Russell, Actress Jennifer Lawrence, and Joy Mangano, the real life inspiration for the film.
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