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In season two of Apple TV+’s The Morning Show, anchor Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) travels to Italy for a complicated, emotional confrontation with her disgraced former co-host and lover, Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell); the scene takes place during the early days of the pandemic as the coronavirus begins its rampage across the globe. Veteran Emmy-winning editor Sidney Wolinsky — who this year received a career achievement award from the American Cinema Editors — cut the episode.
Wolinsky says he used wider shots when Alex first shows up at Mitch’s villa, which allowed the viewer to understand the geography. “There was actually a high shot, shooting down from the top of the gate,” he says. “I wanted to show that Steve Carell’s character was social distancing from Alex. Then you get [closer] to see the emotion on their faces. … Once people are yelling at each other, you really want to be close to them and see their faces.
“She becomes really angry. She’s yelling and screaming at him,” he continues, having kept a rhythm to match the dialogue. “Presumably the subtext is [that] she’s angry [because] she really loves him. Or she cares deeply about him, but she’s afraid of facing that. She’s too afraid of her reputation being destroyed if he doesn’t lie and say that he hadn’t slept with her.”
Alex angrily walks away, but back in her car, she’s pulled over by the police and sent back to Mitch’s house. “The dam breaks. They sort of rekindle their friendship in a platonic way, and that all comes to a stop when later they see a news broadcast about the [tell-all] book coming out [about their relationship], and it snaps Alex back into her sort of self-absorbed, fearful state.”
The editor recalls it was originally a much longer episode: “We dropped big chunks of dialogue, parts of scenes — it’s pretty standard.” This included tightening an argument that escalates in Mitch’s garden. “That scene was very long, there was a lot of conversation there, and the feeling was that it really stopped the show. We cut it down enough to the point where there’s that big fight at the end, which is really strong material. We pulled out a lot of reminiscing about their life together.”
Wolinsky says he enjoys cutting The Morning Show and collaborating with director and executive producer Mimi Leder. “Mimi treated each episode almost like a little feature film, and she was involved in all the decisions,” he says. “There’s a lot of conflict, and it’s very dialogue-driven. I enjoy doing that. I mean, the same was true [when he worked on] The Sopranos. Conflict. Dialogue.”
Sopranos creator David Chase recently revealed Tony Soprano’s fate during an interview with THR‘s Scott Feinberg on his Awards Chatter podcast, a move that genuinely surprised Wolinsky. “Oh my god. I could never get that out of him,” the editor says with a chuckle. “He would always say to me, ‘Well, [Tony] might’ve died, or it might mean that this is the life he’s going to lead, of always fearing that somebody’s going to get them.’ So I’m surprised that David would have given up the ambiguity. That’s kind of amazing.
“I thought it was a brilliant way to end the show,” he adds of the memorable finale that has had Sopranos fans debating the ending since it first aired in 2007. “This was so unexpected.”
This story first appeared in a November stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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