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Day For Night on The Dead Don’t Die: Director Of Photography Frederick Elmes Shoots Jarmusch’s Zombies

Fred Elmes

Fred Elmes invited me to a DI Theater at Harbor Picture Company, a post-house bustling around the corner from Film Forum, to talk about his work on Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die. There was just an hour left of the allotted time to finish the HDR version of the film when I arrived at the DI suite, but Fred retained his cool as he lulled us to the finish line. In my time there, he liked to vignette the edges more or less, and bring faces up or down a level or two. Usually down. 

Our meeting there was perhaps due, in large part, to our mutual friend Abby Levine, a pioneer of digital imaging and Fred’s DIT on Patterson and The Dead Don’t Die, among other collaborations. My favorite credit of Abby’s to quote is his work as a Digital Imaging Technician on Sidney Lumet’s swan song Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007), shot on one of the inchoate HD cameras of the early 2000s, the long forgotten Panavision Genesis HD. 

Together again for their second Jarmusch collaboration on digital, Fred and Abby designed a seamless workflow from capture to post. Opting to shoot day for night, Fred was equipped with a LUT on his Alexa LF’s viewfinder that helped him previsualize the moonlit night that’d soon become the daylit graveyard in front of him. Fred had envisaged rules for when and why they would shoot day for night vs. regular night, but production necessities and a demanding schedule, featuring an all-star cast on a mid-range budget, trumped those ideals. Veteran D.P Fred Elmes accepts it, not as a compromise, but as part of an amorphous process that demands you have your priorities straight. 

Over coffee, I told Fred a little about my story. He went on to give me his:

Elmes: I was living in California when I first started and had shot some experimental, short narrative and documentary things. I knew that they weren’t going to let me into the union. It was not even in the cards. So I decided, instead of fighting to be a camera assistant—and I could do it—I would just keep shooting. The shooting was what was satisfying to me. To finish a film and learn something. So I sort of kept doing that, which meant I wasn’t an A.C. Nobody knew me as an A.C and I certainly wasn’t going to get jobs as an A.C, or [even] as an operator for that matter. So I mostly shot educational films and commercials, industrial films. A lot of friends’s student films and all that.  

Filmmaker: What was it that led you away from all that and into narrative films? 

Elmes: Mostly just an interest in that. I studied still photography, I went to RIT. What interested me was not commercial photography but more photojournalism, or something that explored some subject or some person. Making a story out of pictures. That always seemed most important or what was most interesting to me. It’s a project not just a picture. Working on a dramatic movie just seemed like an extension of that — sort of. And I was never really compelled to direct anything, so sticking to the photography seemed to be right. 

Filmmaker: But how did those projects come about, or how did you come to them?

Elmes: It came from a director that I worked with in film school that got a bigger project. He asked me to get involved. And even though the first feature-length things I worked on never got finished — they were never edited or completed for some reason, and it’s probably better that way — they were still great experiences. It’s an ongoing project, a story we all wanted to tell. The ones that did get finished actually stuck around, which is odd. It’s odd that people still want to see the first couple of films I shot. The first real feature I shot was Eraserhead. I met David Lynch at the AFI; we got along, though I didn’t start the film. Another director of photography named Herb Cardwell started it but he needed to get a real job, and Eraserhead seemed to become a bigger and bigger project as it went along. Herb shot the first few months, and I shot the last few years of it. It took forever. But David and I had a great relationship. We learned a lot and it was kind of an experimental project, and we got along for many years. It was a film that got done, found a distributor, and still sticks around, which is so odd.  

Filmmaker: How’d you get into working with Jim?

Elmes: He asked me to shoot Night On Earth. It was an odd idea because it’s five short stories. It takes place in different countries, different languages. It was a little unclear to me how successful it would be because it was such a quirky idea for a film. But the fact is, years before Jim called, I’d been in a theater and watched Stranger Than Paradise and thought, “There’s somebody that has a unique view. He’s going to go places. Remember that name.” Sure enough, he called. It was completely out of the blue. We’ve certainly been friends ever since, and he’s asked me back, and we’ve done a couple of music videos.

Filmmaker: Have you always been in New York?

Elmes: I grew up in Jersey and New York, went to graduate film school at NYU, then I went to the AFI in Los Angeles when AFI was first starting out. It seemed like a good opportunity to see how Hollywood worked, and I didn’t know anything about it. I was completely fresh and wanted to learn about it. AFI promised a great deal of things, many of which they couldn’t deliver. But in fact it was a great place to be, and I really appreciate it, because it was an introduction to Los Angeles, and it did give me some time to be an irresponsible film student for a little longer. And I met lots of people, you know?

Filmmaker: Was there ever a point that you seriously doubted whether or not you’d be able to work on the kind of films you wanted to make?

Elmes: Oh, yeah. Oh, all the time [laughs] unfortunately. Somebody once asked me “If you had to make a timeline for how long you’d be a camera assistant, camera operator, how long would it take you to shoot a TV movie, then get to features, how many years would that be?” I started to write it down and it turned out to be eight or 10 years before I got almost anywhere, so I thought, “Well, that’s not going to work.” That would have been really discouraging. With that in mind I just started shooting. I couldn’t get into the union and I decided it was best to start on small, independent, low-budget films and see where that took me. And luckily people were making those films. David Lynch was starting to make those films, Martha Coolidge is somebody I also started to work with early on and went to film school with. 

There were others in the same boat that either weren’t going into the union or the DGA but had a script. They found financing and were willing to take a chance on me, and that’s kind of cool. While I was at the AFI John Cassavetes had become a director in residence for a while, so I got to work with him. So here’s somebody whose films I admired in film school; I knew all of his films. He started shooting a film and asked me to get involved. He liked the idea of it being non-union, he liked the idea of it being a very loosely knit group of students working together on the film.

Filmmaker: What was your role on the film?

Elmes: The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie was done partly while he was at the AFI — while he was on his way out. That story’s a little bit complicated. It started with A Woman Under The Influence. I started as a camera assistant, and then they all parted company because creatively it wasn’t working out for John. But John was editing at the AFI right next to me, where I was working, and I knew the whole editing crew because they were also part of the shooting crew. So it started in the editing room. John got to know me, and when it came to The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie, he asked me to do it. He needed a really good operator that could do some lighting. But he didn’t like the idea of union things, he didn’t like the idea of Hollywood-looking films. It had to be rough, it had to be different, and it had to be more offhand. And we just did it, and we got along, so I got to shoot Chinese Bookie. Then a year and a half later I got to shoot Opening Night. Those were two real features with actors, structure, and financing — and they were real neat films.

Filmmaker: I didn’t realize you shot Bookie. 

Elmes: Well I’m listed as the camera operator, but the fact is it’s a very nebulous field because John hated to give titles to people. He didn’t do it. So that’s fine. We were all in it together, and that’s how he wanted to make the movie. But to get to see a real director work with professional actors for a couple of months is just wonderful. To see how his process of filmmaking worked, knowing his films already was wonderful. It was a great education.

Filmmaker: Did you do any more of those family-sized movies?

Elmes: Not so much. I mean, certainly Night on Earth was a very small film. On Night on Earth there was like five of us on the core crew and then we picked up a local crew everywhere we went. 

And it was only as many workers as you needed that day to do that stuff. Jim’s other films have certainly gotten bigger, and The Dead Don’t Die is a bigger film because it has a lot of visual effects and more characters and so on, that it’d be difficult to do small. 

Filmmaker: You’ve talked about this way of working that stays consistent throughout all of your collaborations with Jim. You both look for a visual parity between the spaces and locations you’re shooting in that can thread through the rest of the film. Is that any different in The Dead Don’t Die, considering Paterson was about a specific place and Dead Don’t Die more about the idea of a certain kind of place? 

Elmes: Yeah it is, it’s much more a metaphor for other things. What we had to establish in The Dead Don’t Die is a town. You have to believe that there are only three cops and one police car in this town. That’s as big as it is, and it turns out other people in the world are having the same issues with zombies too. That kind of placed it in the real world, for Jim at least. So once we found a town in upstate New York that was more or less correct for us, we could capitalize on it. We could use the five buildings that were perfect, some of the main streets, and then find buildings that matched in from the neighboring towns to make it work. 

We shot up in a town called Fleischmann’s, in the Catskills, couple hours north of the city. It’s a resort area that’s sort of rundown and not as popular as it used to be. So the town is pretty funky. In its heyday there was a 500-room hotel in town. So it was kind of amazing to be there. It’s a bit of New York State history, actually, that whole area.

But you’re right, Paterson was very specifically about a place and [the main character’s] routine. For Jim, the reason that Paterson could express himself in poetry was that the rest of his life was so routine that he didn’t have to make any decisions about when he woke up in the morning, where he rode the bus or what time he had to be there. It was all the same everyday, which allowed him to be creative in other ways with his poetry.

We all worked off that idea, and in that regard it was a much simpler film. There are fewer characters, fewer locations.

Filmmaker: Why does it make sense that this modern zombie movie, that’s talking back to films from the genre’s history, was shot on digital? 

Elmes:In this case it was convenient. It was a little less expensive. We decided early on that the most important thing was to make the visual effects believable and to have enough shooting days for Jim to work with the actors. So we gave up some other things in order to have more days on the schedule. Film would have been more expensive, even though we talked about it. It’s just something that we had to do.

The Dead Don’t Die

Filmmaker: The Dead Don’t Die doesn’t seem to have a digital look that’s in conflict with itself; it’s not trying to imitate film to my eye.

Elmes: I don’t think I’m trying to imitate film. It’s interesting because we as a society have become very conditioned to looking at film images projected on a screen. That’s the image that’s really comfortable for us because it came first and we had 100 years of it. Digital images are a little different, and I think technology as a whole, including your cell phone camera, has probably pushed itself to imitate film as best as it can. People like film. They like that idea. Some do it better than others, and certainly some people that manipulate images want it to look different and you can make it look different. But film is where we started as an image, so I’m sure I default to it sometimes. But really, anytime you set a camera up and film actors you’re creating something new. Yes, it’s a sensor and a lens, people are wearing costumes and there’s lights, but you do have control over it. That’s the fun part of it. You can plan it and make your story look different than other people’s stories by the choices you make.

Filmmaker: I saw you used some Arri Prime DNAs, a couple of Angenieuxs and some other lenses.

Elmes: We used a handful of lenses. What I found when I decided to use this large-format camera [the Alexa LF] was that there were actually a lot more lenses available than I thought for what is a relatively new format. So I tested many of them. They were older lenses that were meant for other things.They’re still camera lenses, a lot of them are Hasselblaad or Zeiss to begin with, that have been remounted and altered for this new size format.

So they’re not matched. They’re quite different, some of them. Where, in the past, I’ve generally used lenses that were matched as best I could, I decided that because of the nature of this story, that mismatching would be fine, that the defects in the image were fine, that flares would be okay. We were going to do this day for night trick and create this other world that was at night time but didn’t look like normal night. So somehow imperfections in the lens could be part of that. And in fact, when we found a lens that was a little too clean, we would make a little filter to go behind the lens to make it flare occasionally. It was nice to have that control over things. Though not perfectly sharp across the whole field, they were pretty crispy, so I decided to degrade the image with diffusion in front of the lens on top of all that. So it just all compounded into this formula that made sense for the film.

Filmmaker: What diffusion? And you must have changed its intensity across the various lenses?

Elmes: It’s consistent but it did take testing to find just the right amount. The filter is not a commercial filter, it’s a piece of silk netting. What I chose looked good on all of the lenses. It was not too heavy most of the time. Occasionally I had to switch it out for one that was lighter. Jim liked the idea of it. It seemed to have some advantages in that it did flare occasionally and we liked that. It changed the contrast of the image a little bit, it helped bring all of the colors in the frame together a little bit, and it helped take the edges off of the prosthetic makeup. Digital is really sensitive to telling real skin from rubber. It helped blend that the same way makeup blends it. We both fell in love with that idea.

Filmmaker: I want to clarify, why did it make sense for The Dead Don’t Die to have somewhat of a mismatched look vs one that was more uniform?

Elmes: It doesn’t really make sense if you analyze it, unfortunately [laughs]. But in my mind it made sense that because it’s an odd story and because it’s zombies, that I could get away with a little bit more.

Filmmaker: Abby Levine [Fred’s Digital Imaging Technician on Patterson and The Dead Don’t Die], mentioned the use of an aggressive d4n LUT that you used to preview the look.

Elmes: Oh that’s interesting, he helped me with that. What we found in testing was that there were a couple of things you could do in recording to get day for night later in post. Most of it has to do with exposing the frame properly and not crushing or clipping anything. He also made me LUTs on location when we were doing the test. If you pressed it down this much and desaturated it a little bit here, here’s the result, and if you press it down even more and make it more contrasty, here’s the look you get. So we made a series of several LUTs that he could send to post production. When we took the file in, my silly test file, I could look at it on a big screen. That was the starting place and we could tweak it from there. What we ended up doing was taking his LUTs, altering them, and then he could put one in my camera viewfinder that made it basic day for night. No matter what the day scene was, I could flip the LUT in and get a sense of where the shadows would fall, where the highlights would be, and what would happen to the color, which was great. It was a great tool. It’s not the answer to all of the questions but it certainly helped with some of them in terms of guidelines. 

Filmmaker: But then you sent something brighter off to dailies.

Elmes: The LUT that Jim and I liked was a little too dark for editing. In the editing room they needed more information. They couldn’t see enough, so we had to back off on one version of it for dailies, which meant the dailies came back somewhere between day for night and day, and we had to put up with that. But as the editing got closer we could go darker and darker. When you shoot a movie on film you often print it a little up so the editor can see what they’re cutting. Just slightly. 

Filmmaker: In what ways is shooting day for night visually distinct from shooting actual night with big lights? I know there’s also the practical, money-saving appeal to it.

Elmes: Jim and I were wanting to make the film unique while still paying homage to George Romero and all of these B-movies, and used some of these techniques out of necessity. I had done day for night on film work before so I was familiar with it, but we had to do some testing to get to that place in the digital world. I think it served us well, because this technique of shooting night scenes during the day gives the story a visual style that’s different than traditional night photography. So, in a traditional night scene you tend to light the area you’re shooting and to light the actors and let the rest of it fall out and go dark at the edges for instance, or darker in the shadows.  

In day for night photography, when you have the sun as your backlight, or your moonlight, it doesn’t fall off anymore. It’s actually bright everywhere. So you have to figure out ways to accept that compositionally and visually because it’s a different feeling — it’s not lit in the traditional Hollywood sense. Our hope was to embrace that and manipulate it a little bit later in post to get it closer to what we had in mind.

Filmmaker: Are you underexposing it at all on set?

Elmes: I found a way to underexpose it a little bit on set in combination with some other tricks and the LUT to get it closer. I think one of the things that we learned when we started shooting was that there are also tricks you can do on set to make the illusion of night work better. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking all of the light away from the shadows, so that some shadows in the foreground on the actor’s face goes completely dark. It actually helps not to have any bounce light in there.

Sometimes I found that, if we assume in a given scene that the moonlight is kind of your neutral, slightly cool backlight, that you can help the illusion of light by adding a warm light to one side of the actor’s face. Just a little soft warm light. Another way is to put car headlights in the background that make for some other source that is night like out there in the background, or a light inside a window or outside on the porch — lights that would be on if you were photographing at night. 

Filmmaker: How does that soft warm light help usher the illusion of night?

Elmes: Well in the situations we were using it, it was reminiscent of a window light, something else hitting them that was foreign to the moon. A little man-made light gave the sense of night and being somewhere else.

Filmmaker: Did you have a day for night rule? Are you only shooting day for night in the graveyard?

Elmes: No, it turns out the rules became quite confusing. I tried to make up some rules about when we’d shoot it and when we wouldn’t, but there were big production concerns about what could be shot day for night and what could be shot night for night. There’s a big battle scene in the film at the end, and it was scheduled for three or four days of photography, and to be outside at night for that long, with all the lighting and crew that came with that, would have been financially difficult for this production. We were also shooting in the summer and nights are very short. You don’t have many hours, whereas days are quite long, so you have more sunlight than you have darkness. But there were no hard rules. Some of the car driving things were day and some were night. Some were done in a studio and some were done on location. It’s really quite mixed up. A lot of the dialogue in the police car is shot on stage standing still with green screens or plates in the background.  

Filmmaker: Abby mentioned he was particularly impressed by those car set ups at the studio.

Elmes: I liked the lighting in those. It really worked out. It was hard. Jim and I wanted to find a way to make the car driving scenes look real but have something a little off kilter to them that affected the way you felt about them, without making it look like a mistake. So we tried and I’m not sure how well we did with that. All the night driving dialogue in the car is done in the studio standing still, but much more fancifully without background plates. It was a way to differentiate between imitating reality.  

Filmmaker: Are hard rules something you still strive toward? Has your attitude toward them changed over the course of your career?

Elmes: It’s changed a great deal [laughs]. As I grow older, I find that rules per se don’t make much difference. Rules often get you in trouble. In trying not to break the rule you often create this convoluted situation which is neither what you want or what you didn’t want — it falls in the middle in never-never land. I think that what works better for me is to have some basic ideas about the way the film works, about the world you’re creating. Follow some basic ground rules, I guess, which are not really so specific, but are the way that gravity works in your movie. If you can work within those boundaries you often make a film that’s more consistent than if you had very specific rules. It’s kind of like when you learn about how to shoot dialogue so that it edits together better and how you can draw an axis between two actors and you should never cross the axis line with the camera. In fact that’s not very true, there’s many ways to work without doing that and also to work with it. You can even mix! It’s really up to you, and that’s kind of one of the fun things about working on a movie with a director who’s flexible, that they want to try things and know just by looking through the camera that these two close ups will cut together with this wide shot even though it’s technically wrong according to the rule book.   

Part of that is experience and part of that’s using your instinct to get what you want out of the scene. I think that’s more where I am these days about rules, that hard and fast rules don’t really serve you very well, that ideas serve you well and you just need to keep them in perspective. 

Filmmaker: So you’re more impressed by a director that can problem solve in the moment than one who can shape the ideal environment for abiding by pre-set rules [In person I give Kubrick as an example, but I’m not certain this is an accurate description of the way he worked]?

[Fred mulls it over for a moment]

Elmes: I would say I’m impressed by directors who come into a movie with a set of ideas and then are willing to adapt to the new things the actors might do, that are wonderful, as opposed to say, sticking to the storyboard because it’s drawn that way. If an actor does something that’s fabulous on set, I think it’s worth considering it seriously, and to be willing to run with an idea that’s better than your idea… These are good questions. You’re good at this. 

Filmmaker: At this point I still value those rules and the idea of a set that functions in a way that you have the rare resources to follow them. But as I talk to filmmakers like you, that feeling’s slowly beginning to taper off. 

Elmes: It’s very interesting. I certainly thought that a bigger film would give you much more leeway and the ability to do whatever you want. It’s not quite true, it gives you the ability to do many more things. It certainly doesn’t solve all of your problems, and in fact it creates a whole bunch of new ones that you can’t even imagine. A bigger film generally comes with a bigger group of people who financed this movie, that are invested in this idea with you, and they’re giving you all of this money and oftentimes they want specific things in return. Not always, but sometimes. That’s hard, then you have to make choices as a director and decide whose movie you’re making. Is this really your movie, and are you willing to give up those details? 

Fortunately for me, I’ve worked with many directors who really have a sense of the movie that they want to make. And even though they don’t know exactly how to do it, they know what elements they need in place to make it happen. So when Jim Jarmusch goes to Focus Features and they support his film wholeheartedly, that includes his final edit, his music, and his casting ideas, and many directors don’t get that.  

David Lynch and I have prepped a couple of stories. On one we had a script, a production office, it had begun to get cast, but when push came to shove and the financing wasn’t coming into place, I’d find out it was because the financiers weren’t willing to give up the final edit on the film. David said, “I can’t make that movie that I can’t finish editing. So I’d rather not make the film.” John Cassavetes was the same way, he’d rather not do it at all than to make someone else’s film. I appreciate that, that’s a degree of dedication and artistry that I think is important.

Filmmaker: Have you found a happy medium in the budget ranges you work in that tends to be ideal?

Elmes: I think it really depends on what you and the director decide is the level at which you want to make the film. Paterson was a much simpler film that cost less than The Dead Don’t Die. I think there were five locations in Paterson basically, and they were simple ones to find. The Dead Don’t Die was a lot of locations, a lot of effects, it required a bigger crew, and more shooting time. Those things complicated it. And certainly you could have made some version of it for $5 million with less effects, less days of shooting, and less characters, and certainly you could have another version for $25-30 million, and they would have been different movies, so it’s hard to compare and hard to know what they would be. 

Filmmaker: There’s a bit in the movie when all three cops go into the diner on their own to survey some mutilated corpses. The joke works here, in part, because the cinematography is in on the joke. We don’t follow officer Minerva Morrison (Chloe Sevign) in the same way we follow the other two, because the joke is that we, and the participant characters, already know how she’s going to react. 

Elmes: Jim is very good at this. Jim has this wonderful visual sense of humor. It’s pretty subtle. He does like to see things play out in front of the camera. He dislikes having the camera do anything gratuitous. So we were very careful about where we placed the camera, how high it is, and exactly what’s in the frame. I know it’s something I have to get comfortable with because it’s something we’re going to sit on for a while and not make an edit. So when the three characters are outside the diner and they have all this conversation and one at a time they go in, after the second time Jim said, “I really like this three-shot. It’s sort of odd and awkward. I think we should just keep using it.” And sure enough, that’s why we have this same three-shot throughout the whole sequence. It’s this repetition of people coming and going, coming and going. It’s just like the three cars that pull in [just before], it’s the same humor. Jim really likes that, and it’s not by accident. It’s all stuff that he’s thought out. When we go and find locations it’s pretty carefully planned. 

It was difficult at that diner because we never found one diner that could do the job. It’s two diners, one for the interior and one for the exterior. It caused all sorts of trouble for production because it meant that actors’s schedules had to split over, because they weren’t shot the day after each other, they were shot weeks apart. Actors splits became bigger, bloodying that up, all of these things compounded for that decision. But it was really the only way to get the correct vintage diner and the exterior which happens to be the same architecture and metal. 

Patterson

When Jim first described Paterson he said, “It’s about the guy’s routine.” He has a routine so that he doesn’t have to think about anything. So when we put the camera down and film him getting up in the morning and walking down the street, it can be the same shot five times because he’s just the same guy five times in the same uniform. So I said, “Well hey, wouldn’t that be kind of boring?” And he said “Well, maybe,” [laughs] so I said, “What if there’s a little variation?” So we’re always right in front of the house but sometimes it’s a little closer. One day it’s cloudy, or one day we change a lens. So the walk is the same, and even that pan is the same, but there’s something that’s a little bit unique about it. Jim accepted that. We sort of charted what his walk was from the front door, down the street, through the shortcut he takes through the brick factory buildings to the bus stop, which is four different locations completely, with daily variations in mind, with different weather, with whatever he happens to be carrying with him, so that it wasn’t just the same shot nine times. I was trying to give Jim a little flexibility in the edit to change the pacing there without breaking the rule of Paterson’s routine.

He also knew that Adam Driver’s character [in Paterson] was going to be reading poetry over [the walk] some of the time. He really wanted to see that on screen. I sold him some ideas about how he could bring that poetry on screen. He never bought any of my ideas — simply showing writing of the poetry on screen, as Adam does in the film, is what Jim landed on, and I think it was very good. So again it was the simple approach. But we knew that on top of these normal bus rides we were going to layer over it with some abstract bus things. So when he started imagining things or coming up with an idea for a poem, it all came out of that routine of being in the bus everyday and seeing the same things go by, but we wanted to find ways of making those things abstract. When he first presented the script to me I went to Paterson [New Jersey] and took a ride on the bus. I took my camera and surreptitiously photographed everything, the bus driver, the passengers, things you’d see out the window. And then I broke it down into what was abstract, the light on the floor, the door closing, somebody’s hand on the rail, the driver’s hand a little bit on the wheel.

So I did that for a few hours and edited together this little movie for Jim, to show him what it looked like inside a real Paterson bus on a given day. The passengers coming and going are faceless, and the driver’s the consistent thing. 

He liked the idea of it. He didn’t like the movie I made him [laughs]. He didn’t really like it at all. He didn’t like the editing. I got a little tricky with the editing. But I put it to a piece of music to make it flow. It was just research. That’s what I try to dig out of a script and what I try to pick from a director’s brain about what’s important to the story for them. The little things you find become the groundwork for the film, in subtle ways at least.

Filmmaker: Did you feel any responsibility to the comedy of The Dead Don’t Die?

Elmes: No. I’ve seen Jim design jokes into scenes before shooting and then pull way back in the end, not playing the joke out. He makes the joke in the most subtle way and without the expected edit. I think it was really best to go with his best instinct on it, to keep it subtle and give him options later in editing. The subtlety is really important, as far back as when I saw his first film, it struck me as being an important part of who he is and how he wants to tell stories. There’s certainly things to laugh at in the movie, but I’d rather not be the cause of them.

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