‘Bridesmaids’ editors took long view

Eye on the Oscars: Vfx, Sound & Editing

For the editors of the unusually long comedy “Bridesmaids,” extra minutes allowed them to get not just laughs, but potentially a few tears, too.

While most studio comedies run about 90-100 minutes, producer Judd Apatow and director Paul Feig’s film about female friendship and growing up runs for 125. According to the pic’s editors, that meant they could better develop each of the movie’s many characters.

“It’s difficult, when a picture is long,” says William Kerr, who co-edited “Bridesmaids” with Mike Sale. “It’s like ‘Well, there’s not laughs in that scene.’ But it pays off dividends later.

“We’re dealing with characters and their story arcs, trying to make them real and investing in them, in addition to making people laugh.”

One scene that Kerr and Sale say exemplifies the advantages of a longer run-time is when protagonist Annie Walker (Kristen Wiig), a thirtysomehing single woman whose startup bakery has gone bust, goes to great lengths to bake one elaborate cupcake for herself.

“Instead of just being somebody with a failed business, you see that she is really an artist who has no outlet for her passion,” says Sale. “So it does make you bond with that character in a way where, if you just snipped that scene out, it would be a different Annie Walker.”

Adds Kerr, “It’s not a funny scene. And yet it’s the reason why we love her so much.”

According to Sale, it’s ultimately the tone of the comedy that lets them include the sadder moments and nuance between the laughs, over an extended run time. “If you become too silly, or revert to editing tricks to get the laugh, then when you revert to an emotional part, the audience generally will turn on you,” he says. “That is the balancing act.”

Helmer Apatow, for his part, hopes the Academy will recognize the importance of editing for comedies like his. “It is silly that comedy editors never seem to be nominated. People tend to think that editing a gigantic action scene is harder to do than to create the delicate timing needed in a human comedy or hard comedy. I will be the first to say it, editing ‘The Hangover’ is as incredible a feat as editing ‘The Terminator.’ ”

Apatow notes that modern comedies are often heavily improvised, so the editors help find the story while making sure the pic feels tightly scripted.

“Our editors are important partners,” he says. “They edit, but in a way they are writing and directing right along with us.”

Eye on the Oscars: VFX, Sound & Editing

Long pics spur sly tricks | Oscar lacks home for ‘designers’ | Sound minds | Bakeoff buzz: Heart trumps hardware | Shorter vfx reels demand new strategy | ‘Bridesmaids’ editors took long view

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Joachim Trier

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond Backs Joachim Trier, Ole Bornedal, Yellow Bird

    Nordisk Film & TV Fond has announced three features, two series and a documentary set to receive $1.4m in financing, as well as distribution, dubbing and cultural initiative support recipients. Doing so, it highlights some of the key titles moving forward in the Nordic region. Already backed by the Danish Film Institute’s largest ever grant [...]

  • Cat in the Wall Movie Sarajevo

    Sarajevo Film Festival Builds Bridges Through Art

    Rising from the rubble of the Bosnian War to become one of Southeastern Europe’s leading film and TV industry events, the Sarajevo Film Festival has plenty to celebrate as it marks its 25th edition this year. The festival was established in 1995 during the four-year siege of Sarajevo as part of an effort to help [...]

  • 'ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band

    Film Review: 'ZZ Top: That Little Ol' Band From Texas'

    Settling in to watch “ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band From Texas,” you may have a burning question that applies to almost no other rock documentary, and that is: Who, exactly, are these guys? The ones behind the beards? If you’re old enough, of course, you probably know that ZZ Top started out, in 1969, [...]

  • Patricia Louisiana Knop Dead: Screenwriter Was

    Screenwriter Patricia Louisianna Knop Dies at 78

    Screenwriter Patricia Louisianna Knop, who collaborated with her producer-director husband Zalman King on erotically-charged films of the late 1980s and 1990s including “Siesta” and “9 1/2 Weeks,” died Aug. 7 in Santa Monica after a lengthy illness. “9 1/2 Weeks,” starring Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger, was directed by Adrian Lyne, co-produced by King and [...]


    How 'Blinded by the Light' Brought Bruce Springsteen's Music to the Screen for a Song

    Blinded by the Light co-writer/director Gurinder Chadha knows firsthand what it feels like to be an outsider. Born in Kenya when the country was a British colony, she grew up part of the Indian/Asian diaspora who made their way from East Africa to London. For that reason, the 59-year-old’s movies has always dealt with the [...]

  • Studio Movie Grill Announces New Theater

    Studio Movie Grill Announces New Los Angeles-Area Dine-In Theater (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Studio Movie Grill circuit will open a new dine-in theater in the Glendale, Calif. Arts District, CEO Brian Schultz announced Friday. The new theater complex will be 60,000 square feet with 10 screens and will take the place of the former location of the MGN 5-Star Cinema, located near the Glendale Galleria, in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content