JoAnne Yarrow interview: ‘Only Murders in the Building’ editor

JoAnne Yarrow was deep into work when she found out that she had received an Emmy nomination — her first — for editing “Only Murders in the Building.” “All of the sudden I started getting a bunch of text messages and I was sort of silent. And I turned my phone to my coworker and she read them,” Yarrow recalled to Gold Derby (watch above). “She was the one that was expressive and screaming and I was just kind of in shock. So that’s how I found out and then she screamed, ‘Call your husband!’ Later, there was somebody down the hall that was like, ‘What happened? You had to call your husband about something.'”

One of three editors who worked on the first season of the Hulu murder mystery comedy, along with Julie Monroe, who also scored a nomination, and Matthew Barbato, Yarrow edited a trio of episodes: “Who Is Tim Kono?”, “Twist” and her nominated episode, “Fan Fiction.” All three editors worked remotely but organically found a cohesive look for the show through Zoom — and they became so close that they still Zoom today.

“Julie had cut the pilot, but I came on on episode 2 and hadn’t been able to watch her episode yet, so I kind of went off just instinctually on what I felt it was going to be like, and then Matthew was able to join,” Yarrow explained. “Luckily, we have a really good camaraderie with each other. We would talk through things, absolutely, and even though we were remote and Zoomed — we actually still Zoom today, that’s how close we got on this remote show, which is shocking — but it was really great to work with them and see how they’re feeling about different things… Editorially speaking, we all had this cohesiveness built in naturally. We were lucky that way.”

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Yarrow opted to submit “Fan Fiction,” the eighth episode told from the POV of the Arconiacs, the fans of the podcast within the show, because the mystery was coming to a head at that point with two episodes left after that. “We’re getting really close to knowing who the killer is and everything is escalating. And there are some really fun scenes in there that I enjoyed cutting and watching as a viewer as well,” she shared. “I love this idea of fandom and all these diehard podcast fans that are following every tiny morsel of information. I love bringing those people into it and getting their takes. I thought it was a really fun story and it was a part in the series where things are really escalating.”

The episode also features one big group scene — one of Yarrow’s favorites — toward the end after Oliver (Martin Short) invites three Arconiacs — Sam (Jaboukie Young-White), Marv (Daniel Oreskes) and Paulette (Ali Stroker) — to his apartment to help crack the case with him, Charles (Steve Martin), Mabel (Selena Gomez), Jan (Amy Ryan) and Oscar (Aaron Dominguez). He has the Arconiacs perform a dramatic reenactment of how he believes Tim Kono (Julian Cihi) died, much to the consternation of the other four.

“It’s just so theatrical and so over-the-top ridiculous that it’s just too much fun. All those fans — even though you don’t know them and you’re meeting them for the first time, they so quickly and clearly have a strong personality and character trait to them that you immediately understand them,” Yarrow said. “Obviously, in that scene, Oliver is the ringleader. He is showing everyone his idea and he’s the director in that scene, so we’re listening to him, so definitely the focus is on him. And for comic relief, Steve Martin and obviously Selena Gomez — just cutting to them to have a great roll-your-eyes reaction. ‘What is this guy going off on now? He is crazy. This is crazy. What are we doing?’ Truly, when the three of them are together, it is magic, and this episode, specifically, we were lucky to have so many scenes with all three of them together.”

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UPLOADED Jul 22, 2022 3:30 pm