Visual storytelling in cinema stretches to every department, including costumes. What characters wear says as much about them as any other element, and telling the story through clothing is as vital as telling it through photography, production design, sound design and all other aspects of the trade.
Costume designer Sandy Powell is a legend in this regard. She’s racked up 14 Oscar nominations and three wins throughout her 30-plus-year career for films like "Shakespeare in Love," "Hugo" and "The Favourite." Halfway through his own career, Christopher Peterson began collaborating with Powell as an assistant on projects like “The Departed,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Carol.” The two took up the reins together on Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” a decades-spanning epic about the life and times of Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa.
On this episode of “The Call Sheet,” Powell and Peterson discuss working with limited historical details, dig in on the particulars of specific outfits in the film and much, much more.
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53:49Filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood brings a delicate but assured touch to everything she’s involved in, whether on the big screen with films like “Love & Basketball” and “Beyond the Lights,” or in the world of television with projects like the riveting limited series “Shots Fired.” Her latest film, Netflix’s “The Old Guard,” is no exception as the award-winning filmmaker fuses the superhero genre with an uncharacteristic tenderness in an adaptation of the Greg Rucka comic books series.In this week’s season premiere of “The Call Sheet,” Prince-Bythewood will take you through the new film’s production from beginning to end. She’ll discuss visual choices and editorial and music decisions, and she’ll contextualize the project within the overall framework of her career -- or, as you’ll soon hear her describe it, her fairytale. (Reminder: It’s recommended you watch “The Old Guard” before digging into this conversation!)
Thelma Schoonmaker, Tom Fleischman & Eugene Gearty
58:21Thelma Schoonmaker is the legendary, now eight-time Oscar-nominated, three-time Oscar-winning editor of pretty much all of director Martin Scorsese’s portfolio. She’s as integral to the success of his films as the maestro himself. Their latest work together is “The Irishman,” the Netflix original film that recently racked up 10 Oscar nominations, Schoonmaker’s work among them.At three-and-a-half hours, the film is a contemporary American epic, and yet it moves like lightning. Each sequence propels the vast narrative forward. On this episode of “The Call Sheet,” Schoonmaker details the work that went into assembling the film, discusses Robert De Niro’s brilliant performance (after having observed his trajectory from the editing suite for decades) and much more. Also, in a bonus interview, sound mixer Tom Fleischman and sound editor Eugene Gearty explain how the power of the film lies in its subtlety and quiet moments.
39:06Susannah Grant is the Oscar-nominated writer of “Erin Brockovich,” “Ever After,” "28 Days” and “In Her Shoes.” Her latest work is Netflix’s limited series “Unbelievable,” a docudrama adapted from reporting published by ProPublica and The Marshall Project that tells the story of two police detectives from different precincts who cracked the case of a serial rapist who carried out his vicious crimes in Colorado and Washington state between 2008 and 2011.Grant developed the project into an eight-episode depiction of both bungled and bravura police work. It’s also an essential analysis of the cold, systemic realities that victims of sexual assault often face when they make the courageous decision to report the crimes against them. In this episode of “The Call Sheet,” Grant talks about her efforts to avoid one-dimensional portraits of shoddy detective work, developing the look of the series as showrunner and collaborating with series stars Kaitlyn Dever, Toni Collette and Merritt Wever.
28:16Screenwriter and producer Anthony McCarten has penned the Oscar-winning lead acting roles in biopics such as “The Theory of Everything,” “Darkest Hour” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” as of late. His latest film is “The Two Popes,” which tells the story of Pope Benedict’s 2013 resignation as head of the Catholic Church, and current Pope Francis’ reluctant acceptance of the Chair of St. Peter. The script presents a struggle of wills and ideas, Benedict representing the Church’s strong traditionalist roots, and Francis representing a clear and present necessity for growth and change.In order to really capture these two men with respect and compassion, however, McCarten says he had to go beyond taking sides. He had to understand them, to absorb views counter to his own and synthesize something he calls the overarching crisis in the world today: a crisis of listening. In this episode of “The Call Sheet,” McCarten discusses how he simultaneously developed both a screenplay and a play around this material and what the subjects of “The Two Popes” share with some of those towering individuals he’s written as of late.
Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszweski
46:14Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski are the award-winning screenwriters and producers behind films like “Ed Wood,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and “Man on the Moon.” On the small screen, they were also behind the Emmy-winning miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”Their new movie, “Dolemite Is My Name,” starring Eddie Murphy, tells the story of entrepreneur Rudy Ray Moore, an inspirational figure of the Blaxploitation film movement. The screenwriting duo obviously trades in biopics -- real-life stories about real-life people. But that's a tricky trade. How do you tell the story of a life? What players do you eliminate or consolidate? What timeline do you cover? This week’s episode of “The Call Sheet” covers that ground and a whole lot more!
46:44Rodrigo Prieto is the Oscar-nominated cinematographer behind films such as “25th Hour,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “Argo.” In recent years he has worked with filmmaker Martin Scorsese on projects like “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Silence.” This year they have “The Irishman,” which, on a technical level, was an absolute beast to tackle. On this episode of “The Call Sheet” you’ll learn about the R&D that went into developing a proprietary camera rig to allow visual effects artists to “de-age” the film’s stars to play through a series of decades. Prieto also discusses his game plan for visually representing the three distinct time periods of this mammoth 3-and-a-half hour opus.
Sandy Powell & Christopher Peterson
40:40Visual storytelling in cinema stretches to every department, including costumes. What characters wear says as much about them as any other element, and telling the story through clothing is as vital as telling it through photography, production design, sound design and all other aspects of the trade.Costume designer Sandy Powell is a legend in this regard. She’s racked up 14 Oscar nominations and three wins throughout her 30-plus-year career for films like "Shakespeare in Love," "Hugo" and "The Favourite." Halfway through his own career, Christopher Peterson began collaborating with Powell as an assistant on projects like “The Departed,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Carol.” The two took up the reins together on Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” a decades-spanning epic about the life and times of Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa.On this episode of “The Call Sheet,” Powell and Peterson discuss working with limited historical details, dig in on the particulars of specific outfits in the film and much, much more.
43:46Director Noah Baumbach’s 1995 debut “Kicking and Screaming,” introduced his now trademark sui generis blend of comedy, tragedy, pathos and human insight. Few people write dimensional frailty the way he does, and that has led to deep and personal explorations over the years, from “The Squid and the Whale” to “Greenberg” to “The Meyerowitz Stories” and beyond.Baumbach’s latest film, “Marriage Story,” is a new chapter in this ongoing journey and perhaps the most potent one yet. It tells the story of a marriage through the lens of divorce, but cinematically, Baumbach was presented with an interesting dilemma. How do you find the right engaging visual language to convey a story that is at its core people and lawyers in offices, talking through their own domestic drama? On this episode of “The Call Sheet,” Baumbach discusses that very challenge, from unusual framing choices to a disciplined editing plan and his most ambitious work with an original score yet.
41:48Emmy Award-winning composer, Nicholas Britell, is enjoying a moment right now. The Oscar-nominated talent behind the scores of films like “Moonlight,” “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “Vice” and television series like “Succession” is as in-demand as they come, an artist who approaches film music composition in incredibly original ways, with some of our greatest contemporary filmmakers lining up to collaborate with him.For Netflix, Britell is behind the haunting, eerily timeless melodies of David Michod’s “The King,” a story taken in part from William Shakespeare’s “Henriad” series of plays and focused on the rise of King Henry V. Like all of Britell’s work, the score is a piece of its own within the film, the music seemingly sprouting from the very tones and atmospheres rendered by Michod and his team behind the camera. In this week’s episode of “The Call Sheet,” Britell dives into his love of hip hop, his use of unconventional instruments for the score of “The King," and the importance of trusting your instincts.
Fernando Meirelles and Mark Tildesley
35:22Fernando Meirelles is the Academy Award-nominated director of films like “City of God,” “The Constant Gardener,” and “Blindness,” among many others. His mixture of authenticity and flash made him a fascinating match for “The Two Popes,” his latest film starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce. Centered on the 2013 exchange of power at the top of the Catholic Church, the film is also a story about the ongoing struggle between ideas.Beyond the text, however, the film was a considerable practical challenge because the bulk of the drama takes place within the hallowed halls of the Sistine Chapel. Production Designer Mark Tildesley and his team had their work cut out for them as filming at the famed sanctuary was out of the question. Learn the secrets of how the design team built the interiors, reproduced Michelangelo's famed frescos and more on this week’s episode of “The Call Sheet.”