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in Filmmaking
on May 29, 2007

On the occasion of the Walter Reade’s 30th anniversary screening of Barry Lyndon (the last show is tonight at 7), Jamie Stuart contributes to The Reeler an interview with Kubrick actor and long-time associate Leon Vitali. Vitali, who most recently produced Todd Fields’s Little Children, is in town to intro tonight’s screening and he took a few moments to talk to Stuart, who also snapped the pic of the producer shown here.

From the interview:

Reeler: But other filmmakers I think of who have a great degree of control — modern filmmakers like say the Coen Brothers or somebody like David Fincher — they very much work from storyboards. They go into shooting their movies knowing exactly what they want, and they do it until they get exactly what they want. With Stanley, however, it seems like it was completely about the process.

Vitali: That’s right. He never used storyboards. Never used storyboards. That’s a wonderful feeling of freedom you have as an actor, and I’ve said several times that Stanley was the closest to a theater director that I ever worked with. That was the process you went through. It’s just that instead of taking six weeks to rehearse for a play scene by scene by scene, here we were taking hours and sometimes days to rehearse and shoot and rehearse and shoot. And all the time during rehearsals, he insisted: “Do it for real. Do what you think you will do.” Because the way he found his first shot, he used to walk around the set with an Arriflex tube and just change lenses, look around, down, up, move away, move around. Once he found his first shot, he knew he could build the scene from that point. But he said: “If you don’t do it properly, if you don’t do it for real, you could change the way I think about the scene. You could suddenly put a whole new accent on it.” You know, it’s such a refreshing way for an actor to work. It really is.

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