×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Editors Walk a Difficult Line With Sensitive Subjects

When editors take us into a story, they also choose which character will tell us the tale. Characters who’ve been victims of trauma, those who face mental-health issues and have to navigate surreal experiences still have to be engaging for the audience. It’s a difficult line to walk.

Some editors also have to make an unlikeable character sympathetic so we’ll follow them down a dark alley into who knows what.

“I was going for a kind of Tim Burton-meets-‘Brazil’ feeling, so that when you see the main character you know something isn’t right, and when you see her try to fall back on her privilege of being wealthy and entitled, you know it’s not going to work for her,” says Eleanor Infante, who edited the episode “Point of Origin” for “The Twilight Zone.” “You see that she’s going to have an experience that will change her outlook, but you don’t know if that will help her in the end.”

Tim Streeto, editor on Netflix’s “Maniac,” felt the production had a tone similar to work by helmer Terry Gilliam and writer-director Charlie Kaufman. “Keeping all of what happens in the lab plus the reflections of the two characters straight is kind of tricky,” says Streeto. “I loved movies like ‘Brazil’ as a kid, and so that thing where the science is totally ridiculous, but it’s treated with total sincerity like it’s done in ‘Maniac’ really appealed to me, because you see the characters in the middle of all that absurdity.”

Popular on Variety

In Amazon’s “Lorena,” a four-part documentary about Lorena Bobbitt and ex-husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, editor Azin Samari dug into research about the pair. “I got a completely different picture of her watching the trial [on charges of malicious wounding] and I got details about her life and what happened,” says Samari “[Lorena] is actually not the best narrator for her story because it was a very difficult experience and, even though she remembers it very clearly, it’s hard to wrap your head around all the things that happened in the media during her trial.”

On the NBC drama “This Is Us,” Bjorn Myrholt shaped the footage so we’d experience events in a more personal, intimate way.

“You’re going for those moments where you can feel things from the point of view of the character, and we also have a slower pace so we’re kind of allowing for things to play out and not rush the emotional impact of the story,” says Myrholt. “You can’t escape what the character is feeling so you get into the body and the mind of each character and really feel the unfolding of each moment.”

More Artisans

  • chadwick boseman 21 Bridges

    '21 Bridges' DP Seeks New York-Style 'Street' Cred in Philadelphia

    In director Brian Kirk’s “21 Bridges,” Chadwick Boseman plays a very different kind of hero than T’Challa in “Black Panther”: He’s an intense New York cop tracking a pair of killers throughout the city one fateful night, trying to box them in by closing the titular connections between Manhattan and the mainland. Along with Kirk, [...]

  • Two Popes Production

    How 'Two Popes' Production Team Re-Created the Sistine Chapel, Frescoes and All

    When Mark Tildesley read Anthony McCarten’s script for “The Two Popes,” he saw how integral the Sistine Chapel was to the narrative. As the film’s production designer, he knew he couldn’t film inside the Vatican, which meant he’d have to reproduce the location. “We did visit it with a leading expert — [producer] Enzo Sisti. His [...]

  • The Aeronauts Movie

    'The Aeronauts' Production Team Helps Hot-Air Balloon Saga Soar

    For cinematographer George Steel, the key to “The Aeronauts,” director Tom Harper’s $80 million film starring Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne as balloonist-scientists who soar to 35,000 feet to break records in 1862, was to take the viewer along for the ride. When Variety visited the cast and crew on set in London, Steel was crouched [...]

  • Al Ghouta, Syria - Dr Amani

    Capturing the Sounds of War in National Geographic's 'The Cave'

    When director Feras Fayyad and sound designer Peter Albrechtsen spoke about “The Cave,” Fayyad knew sound was going to be an important element in the documentary. “The Cave” depicts the harrowing and true story of the Syrian War. As bombs rattle the walls of a Syrian hospital and planes fly overhead, Dr. Amani Ballour and [...]

  • De-aging Robert De Niro For Scorsese's

    'The Irishman': A Closer Look at the De-Aging of De Niro in Scorsese's Mob Epic

    Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” hits Netflix today and it stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. De Niro plays Frank Sheeran, a truck driver who meets Russell Bufalino (Pesci). Spanning several decades, the film follows Sheeran as he gets involved in the greatest unsolved mob mystery – the disappearance of union boss Jimmy [...]

  • IRM_DAY032_110117_0719538.raf

    Thelma Schoonmaker on Editing 'The Irishman' With Martin Scorsese (Exclusive Short)

    If anyone knows Martin Scorsese, it’s Thelma Schoonmaker. Schoonmaker has worked with the director since 1980’s “Raging Bull,” which won her the first of three Academy Awards, along with six additional nominations. Most recently, she won in 2007 for “The Departed.” In this exclusive clip, Schoonmaker talks about the ideas for editing her most recent [...]

  • Bong Joon Ho Parasite BTS

    'Parasite' Director Bong Joon Ho on His Core Crew and Their 'Risky Choices'

    In Neon’s “Parasite,” writer-director Bong Joon Ho creates a rare film in which the audience has no idea where the plot is headed. Bong, who won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and rave reviews for the film, talks about the contributions of his colleagues — without spoiling the plot. Cinematography, Hong Kyung pyo On the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content