In editing “Marriage Story,” Jennifer Lame wanted to stick to the structure of Noah Baumbach‘s script, which she recalls was “very even keeled” and “not weighted towards one character or the other.” Lame spoke extensively about her work on the acclaimed domestic drama in a new behind-the-scenes featurette, “Making the Cut.” Watch the exclusive video featurette above.
Presenting an even hand was crucial for the Netflix release, which centers on a messy divorce between theater director Charlie (Adam Driver) and actress Nicole (Scarlett Johansson). When exploring “the themes of a relationship,” Lame believes “you have to go back-and-forth, and it was the way Noah wrote it.” So when she was cutting a scene, she need to make sure “that the editing still reflected that sentiment.”
That was especially true of a moment late in the film, when an argument between the two escalates into a full-blown shouting match. Lame and Baumbach needed to place the audience right in the middle of the conflict, and their shot selection helped reflect the growing tension. They started out with some wides, “playing into the fact that Charlie and Nicole in that scene came at each other trying to portray different characters,” Lame explains. Eventually, “the masks come off, and then we go into these tights.”
The result “is a great representation of what their relationship has been up until this point,” Baumbach adds. He gives due praise to Lame, with whom he has worked on four other movies with (“Frances Ha,” “While We’re Young,” “Mistress America” and “The Meyerowitz Stories,” plus additional editing on “De Palma”). During production, he would talk to her “every day on my way home, and every day on my way to work.” At times she’d even visit the set because “it’s another voice I trust responding to the same movie.”
The film could land Lame in the Oscar race for the first time. She previously earned BAFTA, ACE and Independent Spirit Award nominations for “Manchester by the Sea” (2016), plus an additional Indie Spirit bid for “Frances Ha” (2013). She’s next working on Christopher Nolan‘s upcoming “Tenet.”
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