‘Meet the Experts’: Maryann Brandon (‘Passengers’) on ‘invisible’ art of editing and ‘gorgeous’ new film

Maryann Brandon has made a career lately of editing such blockbuster space films as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Star Trek: Into Darkness.” She now returns to the genre with “Passengers,” an epic film from Columbia opening on December 21 and directed by Oscar nominee Morten Tyldum (“The Imitation Game”). Brandon was part of a “Meet the Experts” panel presented by Gold Derby at the Landmark Theater in L.A. on November 22 to spotlight great achievements in crafts. During the chat with Tom O’Neil, she cheekily referred to editors as “invisible artists” because “if your work is noticed, you’re not doing your job. It’s supposed to be smooth, and people aren’t supposed to notice the editing.”

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The movie’s plot concerns a spacecraft transporting thousands of people to colonize a new planet. They are scheduled to be asleep for hundreds of years, but two of them are awakened 90 years too early. Regarding the finished project, Brandon says, “It’s an absolutely gorgeous film (where) the production designer and DP did an incredible job in these limited spaces. I saw the 3D version and it’s absolutely beautiful to look at. Not to mention that both Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, they’re not too hard on the eyes, either.” Co-stars include Michael Sheen, Andy Garcia, and Laurence Fishburne.

Brandon received her first Oscar nomination last year for the “Star Wars” relaunch directed by J.J. Abrams (losing to Margaret Sixel for “Mad Max: Fury Road”). She has also had American Cinema Editors (ACE) nominations for that same film plus “Star Trek” (2009) and “How to Train Your Dragon” (2010). Her earliest career nom was at the Emmy Awards for the spy drama “Alias” (2001). Other projects have included “Mission: Impossible III,” “Gulliver’s Travels,” “Kung Fu Panda 2,” “Super 8,” and “Endless Love.”

We will post a video soon of the entire conversation between Brandon and O’Neil.

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