Andrew Weisblum interview: ‘The French Dispatch’ editor
“We don’t waste time,” admits editor Andrew Weisblum about working with Wes Anderson on “The French Dispatch.” For our recent webchat, he continues, “I started out being a little more precious about moments. Wes is willing to cut deeper. I’ve learned it’s not a ruthless thing, it’s just an energy thing that he’s very consistent and strong about.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
“The French Dispatch,” co-written and directed by Anderson, is set at the outpost of an American newspaper in 20th century France. It revolves around the publication of the newsletter, telling three stories that make up the feature articles with live action, animation, miniatures and elaborate set design. The editor describes, “We weren’t necessarily approaching it as one piece, but it was three or four films working together. There’s definitely material that bridges it together, but each story in the film or subject in the magazine had its own approach and was its own mini-movie aesthetically editorially.”
This resulting in a structure resembling a print publication more than a typical film. Weisblum reveals, “We sort of realized some of the references are based on magazines. All the split screen experimentation that we did in the film, we realized somewhere along the way was based on our subconscious understanding of magazine layouts. It was the same with the way we played with subtitles and how they were laid out graphically. In a wa, it’s more of a magazine trope than a film idea.”
Weisblum received an Oscar nomination in 2010 for the Darren Aronofsky film “Black Swan.” Recently, two other films he edited were “tick, tick… Boom!” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.” But “The French Dispatch” marks the fifth Anderson film he has worked on. Weisblum explains, “There are the actors who come back to Wes because they feel respected, they feel like it’s part of a bigger family, which is how I feel working on the films. He was very concerned with creating a family atmosphere where everybody really gets to know each other, and contribute, and collaborate, and feel part of a team. He’ll have me come to the shoot a lot. If something comes up that he’s concerned about editorially we can talk about it or I can bring something to him. We’re able to spitball about it together.”