‘Run’ | Anatomy of a Scene

‘Run’ | Anatomy of a Scene

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Hi, I’m Aneesh Chaganty, and I’m the co-writer and director of Run. O.K. So the scene that’s playing out right now takes place in the second act of the movie. Without giving much away, the basic setup is this. So our daughter, played by newcomer Kiera Allen, has been locked in her room by her misaligned mother, played by veteran Sarah Paulson, and is convinced that she needs to escape. From a form standpoint, I think what you’re about to watch is actually one of the few sequences that breaks the pattern of the film’s aesthetic. Much of the film’s style is sort of borrowed from the films of Hitchcock and Shyamalan, and those films don’t just choose shots because one thing can happen in them. They designed frames where, like, four or five things can happen in them. So to borrow a page out of their book, I storyboarded every single frame of this movie by hand before we started shooting. You can actually compare the boards to the final film. It’s all pretty identical. So right now, we’re watching Chloe, who’s this super resourceful and smart and inventive girl, sort of MacGyver a solution out of her room. Chloe uses a wheelchair, so a solution that an able-bodied person might have come up with won’t work for her. She has to overcome that with just sort of pure intelligence, and she does. Every single shot inside this room here is repeated from an earlier shot in the movie. I wanted to be super spare with the visuals of this movie and always design frames that could be repeated so that when things start to explode narratively, like right now, it would feel like real catharsis. [MUSIC PLAYING] So all of this was shot on a stage in Winnipeg. We basically created the entire second story of his house on a stage, and the first story and the outside— what you’re looking at now— is all on-location. So now we’re kind of jumping into the single most complex shooting process of the entire film, where this whole sequence is about to stitch so many different skill sets and elements and shooting days into one. So she just kind of comes out onto her roof. We’re landing on a shot of Kiera in a stage on a set where the roof is actually flat and the walls are tilted to the side. It looks sort of like a really cool— it’s hard to describe, but just movie magic makes that work. So the camera’s just tilted. She’s actually perfectly flat on the ground. We’re just tilting her hair a little bit and occasionally blowing wind to the side. And that’s her face pushing forward a little bit, and sort of a blue screen behind her. The next shot you’re going to see is going to be from the side, and that is a stunt double. But it looks like Kiera because we face-replaced Kiera’s face onto it. And this shot sort of was actually the first shot that we did on day one of shooting. And we had to shoot it on day one, because we shot in Winnipeg, Canada, which is, like, the coldest place ever, and we had to shoot out our exteriors first before everything started snowing. We started shooting October 31st of 2018. By the way, the house was chosen because it just felt like when we saw it that it looked like it was, like— you could put it on a movie poster and draw it out and put Sarah Paulson’s face above it, and it just had the vibes of this old-school, Hitchcock house, so there’s just like secrets inside of it and stuff. This is a shot on set, again, on this little fake, made roof. This is another shot on set. Obviously, we did not put Kiera on an actual roof with danger. But this whole sequence, we shot over multiple, multiple days. And she still has a bunch of water in her mouth that she swallowed from earlier. She plugs in a soldering iron, heats up the soldering iron, and puts the soldering iron to this glass in the cold, where it immediately starts to kind of crack because the heat is expanding it, and then immediately will spit out some water onto the glass, where it shatters the rest of it. This is actually a technique. One of my best friend’s dads is a glass blower, and taught me this over the phone. So that’s the end of one of the biggest set pieces of the movie, which honestly tries to do what we were trying to do with this whole movie, which is take a normal house and turn every single element of that house into a massive Burj Khalifa-scale obstacle.

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