Film Editor Christopher Rouse on The Bourne Ultimatum

Over at Film & Video, I’ve just posted my interview with Christopher Rouse, the virtuosic film editor on The Bourne Supremacy, United 93, and now The Bourne Ultimatum. He’s worked with director Paul Greengrass on three films (going on four), and man oh man, nobody makes movies more intense than these two.

Q: Have you heard the complaints from some viewers that this specific style of filmmaking — handheld camera, quick cuts — makes them physically ill?

A: Often. [Laughs.] At the end of the day it’s a big tent. There’s room for many, many styles of filmmaking. Probably my favorite filmmaker of all time is David Lean, who has a style that in many ways couldn’t be more antithetical to the way we shoot a Bourne film. I’ve had people say to me, “Gosh, I watched your film from the third row of the theater, and I was getting physically ill.” Fair enough. Personally, I wouldn’t watch any film from the third row of a theater, and if I were to watch Lawrence of Arabia from the third row of a theater I’d probably get physically ill myself. It’s an aggressive style, so it’s going to attract more attention, but I think it’s a style that absolutely supports the film and the narrative. If you like it, great. And if you don’t, that’s fine too.

The color of Hard Candy

Being a big ol’ geek, I was immediately intrigued by the presence, right up there in the opening titles, of a screen credit for the “digital colorist” on Hard Candy, one Jean-Clement Soret. Fortunately, I get paid to be a big ol’ geek — so I got Soret on the phone and asked him to describe the digital-intermediate process. The resulting interview, which discusses a post-production workflow, is mainly of interest if you happen to be contemplating a DI on a project you’re working on. But I got Soret to talk a little about Danny Boyle’s upcoming science-fiction film, Sunshine, which already has an interesting Web site.

The flashy credit boils down to Soret having worked successfully with director David Slade on commercials and music videos and therefore willingly taking on Hard Candy‘s DI for a much smaller fee than the work would normally demand. It’s both a thank-you for that and an indicator of how important Slade thought the digital grading process was to the film’s impact. I expect to see more of this kind of recognition in the future, as the colorist becomes a higher-profile collaborator with the director and/or cinematographer on any given shoot — I’m not sure whether I’d really look forward to the era of the celebrity colorist, but I also don’t expect it to go quite that far. (I’m mixed, by the way, on the merits of Hard Candy itself — but more on that later in the week.)