Patrick J. Don Vito Interview: ‘Green Book’ editor
Having worked with Peter Farrelly on “Movie 43” (2013), film editor Patrick J. Don Vito was surprised to read the script for the director’s latest film, “Green Book.” “I thought, wow, this is really good,” he recalls, “and this is such a departure” for the filmmaker behind bawdy comedies like “Dumb and Dumber” (1994), “Kingpin” (1996) and “There’s Something About Mary” (1998). Watch our exclusive video interview above.
Based on a true story, this Universal release centers on Tony “Lip” Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), an Italian-American bouncer who takes a job driving classical pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) on a musical tour through the Jim Crow-era South.
Although the film deals with more serious subject matter, Farrelly didn’t leave his funny bone behind. “That was probably the biggest trick of the movie,” Don Vito explains, “the balance of the comedy and the drama.” But the editor was also concerned with honoring the lives of the real people represented in the film, so as he was cutting he would ask himself, “Does it ring true? Does this sound like a joke? If it sounds like a joke, that’s not the right tone for this. So really it was about trying to keep everything real.”
He sought guidance from Vallelonga’s son, Nick, who co-wrote the script with Farrelly and Brian Hayes Currie. “I had a lot of resources to know about these people,” he says, “so I wanted to make sure I was doing them right.”
Don Vito was an assistant editor on films including “Up Close and Personal” (1996) and “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (1997) and has been the lead editor on the comedy “Walk of Shame” (2014) and the drama “Three Christs” (2017).
“Green Book” won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival and has picked up Audience Awards at several other fests, including Middleburg, Mill Valley, New Orleans, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Virginia.