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Camerimage: ‘Chicago’ Editor Martin Walsh Reflects on Diverse Career

Oscar-winning editor's latest project is Kenneth Branagh's 'Cinderella,' the live-action retelling of the fairy-tale for Disney

Camerimage: 'Chicago' Editor Martin Walsh Reflects

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland — Cutting together Rob Marshall’s “Chicago” may have won Martin Walsh an Oscar but to this day the Brit editor flees when he hears the soundtrack.

Just part of the price when you spend nine months assembling what has been described by Camerimage cinematography fest as “an editing marvel” — and one that took three times longer to edit than to film.

“I was pretty fried,” Walsh confesses. “It’s not the top of my list of things to listen to.”

Walsh, whose 30-plus films including “V for Vendetta” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary” have earned him an award this week in Poland for “unique visual sensitivity,” says it’s an important morale boost for filmmakers besides helmers and thesps to be honored.

“It’s great — it’s a rarity for us background people.”

It was probably fated that Walsh would take on a musical at some point in his career, which has embraced as diverse a slate of projects as possible, from Beatles biopic “Backbeat” to actioners such as “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.”

His most recent engagement is yet another departure: Kenneth Branagh’s “Cinderella,” Disney’s live-action retelling of the fairy tale.

“Still waiting for the western and the horror,” Walsh jokes. “I’m hoping that the western isn’t dead.”

Not that he’ll be too troubled by the conventions of whatever genre is next. Walsh says the key is to sense how the footage should naturally come together. “The material I’m given by each director has its own story — it has its own life,” he says.

Still, a good editor can save a scene by spotting what’s missing as often as what to cut, he points out.

“If you’re handheld and running around, it’s very easy to not notice that you didn’t get the guy picking up the gun.”

The key is to review the dailies immediately before the set’s broken down and the crew’s moved on. “You’ve gotta be on it straight away.”