×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Director P.O.V.: Richard Linklater

Helmer reinvents '30s New York at Pinewood

There was nothing organic about the decision by Texan director Richard Linklater to shoot “Me and Orson Welles” in the U.K.

This coming-of-age drama takes place in and around the legendary Mercury Theater in 1930s New York. But the budget came from CinemaNX, the production company backed by the Isle of Man, and that dictated the location. “Me and Orson Welles” filmed its Mercury scenes in an old theater on the Isle of Man and built its Gotham exteriors at Pinewood Studios.

“It’s a bit of a magic film,” Linklater says. “It pushes the boundaries for where films can shoot.”

When the movie premiered at the Toronto fest, Linklater was gratified to be quizzed by New Yorkers about where exactly in their city he had lensed certain scenes.

“We built one little street in Pinewood with a greenscreen at the end,” he says, “and every single exterior was shot on it, from different angles, dressed a different way. The only thing we did in New York was shoot some photos and a little footage for the digital effects. Our English production designer, Laurence Dorman, did a great job.”

The British crew and mostly British cast threw themselves enthusiastically into the challenge of re-creating the feel of 1930s Broadway. Only one or two details got lost in translation. Linklater had to point out to his set designers that the signs saying “Stalls” and “Circle” inside the theater would need to be changed to “Orchestra” and “Balcony.”

With Linklater having previously filmed in Paris and Vienna (for “Before Sunset” and “Before Sunrise”), coming to Blighty wasn’t much of a culture shock. His only awkwardness arose over the issue of overtime — he didn’t initially realize that British crews, unlike their American counterparts, don’t get paid when the day goes over schedule, so they are extremely reluctant to work over their contracted time.

“The pressure is enormous not to go into overtime, even if you’re on the second take and you need another 15 minutes or half an hour to finish the scene,” Linklater says. “It wasn’t explained to me in advance, so once or twice it was a case of me saying, ‘Oh, you’re kidding, we have to stop now?'”

Nonetheless, he describes the experience of shooting in the U.K. as wholly positive.

“I totally see why people come here and don’t leave. It’s very relaxed,” he says, adding that he’s already thinking about coming back. “I have a script and I do think, if I can’t get it done in the States, I can change it up and make it in Britain.”

More Film

  • Sony Pictures Classics Buys Michael Covino's

    Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Buys Michael Covino's 'The Climb'

    Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all worldwide rights, excluding France and German-speaking Europe, to Michael Angelo Covino’s buddy comedy “The Climb.” The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Un Certain Regard Heart Prize alongside “A Brother’s Love” on Friday. Covino directed, co-wrote (with Kyle Marvin) [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Heads for Magical $100 Million Opening in North America

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” is heading for at least $100 million in North America during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, early estimates showed Friday. “Aladdin” will likely finish Friday with around $30 million, including $7 million in Thursday night previews. Sony’s launch of horror-thriller “Brightburn” should pull in about $10 million for the holiday weekend and [...]

  • Henry Ian Cusick

    'Lost' Star Henry Ian Cusick Signs With Buchwald (EXCLUSIVE)

    Henry Ian Cusick, best known for playing Desmond on the hit ABC series “Lost,” is signing with talent agency Buchwald for representation. Cusick also starred in the CW sci-fi/drama “The 100” and was most recently seen in the Fox series “The Passage.” His other notable television credits include “Scandal,” “24,” “Fringe,” “The Mentalist,” “Body of [...]

  • Invisible Life Brazilian Cinema

    Brazil's 'Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão' Wins Cannes Un Certain Regard Award

    Brazilian filmmaker Karim Aïnouz emerged triumphant in tonight’s Un Certain Regard awards, as his grand-scale period melodrama “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão” received the top prize from jury president Nadine Labaki. The “Capernaum” director and her fellow jurors demonstrated eclectic taste in the ceremony, ultimately handing honors to eight of the 18 feature films [...]

  • Dan the Automator

    Heeding the Call of Olivia Wilde, Dan the Automator Scores 'Booksmart'

    Dan The Automator, aka Daniel Nakamura, knows a thing or two about setting a mood. The Bay Area-based producer has worked on projects such as Gorillaz’s debut album, Handsome Boy Modeling School (with Prince Paul) and multiple projects with rapper Kool Keith. Now, Nakamura has set his sights on film scoring, and will make his [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content