Lee Smith Q&A: ‘Interstellar’ editor
As Lee Smith has edited all of Christopher Nolan’s films since “Batman Begins” (2005), it made sense he would perform such duties on one of the director’s most complex outings to date. “Interstellar” finds him juggling time and space, scenes set on Earth with scenes set in galaxies far, far away, and moments of grandeur with moments of intimacy.
Yet, as he readliy admits during our webcam chat, the editing process was relatively straight-forward. “Chris and his brother Jonathan write a very detailed and very accurate script so effectively you’ve got a blueprint for a very complicated story. As you can imagine, with a film this complicated, you would have to adhere to some kind of plan.”
For Smith, the greatest challenge wasn’t the structure, but the pacing. “You try to make the film as compact as it can be without losing cohesion,” he explains. While the film runs almost three hours, “the length is kind of irrelevant, because I’ve sat through ninety-minute films that felt like they were ten days long, because I’m not engaged. Because of its epic nature and quality and complexity, it’s just a film that required a long storytelling process.”
Smith has reaped two Oscar bids to date: “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” (2003) and Nolan's “The Dark Knight” (2008). And he is likely to earn his third nomination this year.