‘Promising Young Woman’ editor Frederic Thoraval on balancing thriller, rom-com and horror [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Frédéric Thoraval had a difficult task ahead of him as the editor on “Promising Young Woman.” The film, about a young woman named Cassie (Carey Mulligan) who seeks vengeance after a traumatic event that happened years ago to her best friend, balances many tones including dark satire, thriller, horror and even rom-com. But the editor credits writer-director Emerald Fennell‘s script for crafting an emotional through-line to keep the film feeling of a piece. “We had a very clear path to follow,” says Thoroval in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. “I think very quickly in the cut, there was one thing that was obvious: we needed to keep an emotional connection with the character of Cassie.” Watch the full interview above.

What also helped Thoraval greatly was Mulligan’s concentrated performance. Like Thoraval, Mulligan was focused on bringing out the core of Cassie, even through the very different dynamics she has with characters throughout the movie. “Carey Mulligan, for me, did a spectacular job,” praises Thoraval. “It was such a pleasure in the cutting room to be able to focus with her only on the details, the things she was doing from one take to another just to adjust, this or that.”

Another important element in the editing of “Promising Young Woman” was the implementation of the soundtrack. From Charli XCX‘s “Boys” in the opening scene to Juice Newton‘s “Angel of the Morning” in the final one, the film is packed with poppy music drops that help enhance the story in specific ways. Such songs were integral to the film even at the pre-production stage. “Each song has a very close relation with what Cassie is thinking at that exact moment,” explains Thoraval. “If you remove one of those songs, it’s not the same movie at all.”

“Promising Young Woman” is now one of the most buzzed-about movies of 2020, creating a dialogue about sexual assault, the “nice guy” trope and the nature of revenge. It also boasts a divisive ending that has resulted in multiple thinkpieces since its wide release. Thoraval prefers art of this nature, the kind that can have people debating as they walk out of the (hypothetical) theater. “The stars were all aligned with this one,” he reflects. “It’s good to have that feeling of people talking.”

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