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Tom Cross, the Oscar-winning editor of Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash and who most recently edited Chazelle’s First Man, talks with The Hollywood Reporter in a new episode of its Behind the Screen podcast series.
Hosted by THR‘s tech editor Carolyn Giardina, the series features conversations with editors, cinematographers, production designers and other artists behind the making of motion pictures.
Cross has cut all of Chazelle’s movies including First Man, the Neil Armstrong biopic that arrived in time for this year’s 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and the astronaut’s historic first step onto the moon.
In this podcast, Cross talks about the intricacies of editing First Man, giving the film its verite style, and the filmmakers’ collaboration with NASA to be sure everything was accurate.
Cross also describes Chazelle’s “Wizard of Oz” moment, when the hatch opens and Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) steps onto the moon: “We leaned into the cut-iness and messiness [in the film]. … Once we got to the moon and once the camera shoots out of the hatch … we go from 16mm to Imax.
“Everything slowed down … and became very different in feel from what had come before,” Cross continues. “[Chazelle] wanted the moon to feel like another world — he really wanted it to feel completely different from what had come before. I think doing Imax and knowing how that would affect the cutting pattern, I think that was his way of pulling the rug out from under the audience to really make that hatch moment a show-stopping moment. And he did that by pulling out the sound, too.”
For his work on the film, Cross is nominated for an American Cinema Editors’ Eddie Award in the dramatic feature competition. The honors will be handed out on Friday, and as Cross considers the editing community’s annual event, he says he is looking forward to meeting Career Achievement Award honoree Craig McKay, a two time-Oscar nominee for classics such as The Silence of the Lambs and Reds.
Hear it all below on Behind the Screen — and be sure to subscribe to the podcast to never miss an exciting episode.
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