Tom Eagles interview: ‘The Harder They Fall’ editor
“Tonally, this is comedy, this is action, with really broad stylistic touches and all this amazing music,” explains Oscar-nominated editor Tom Eagles (“Jojo Rabbit”) about striking the right balance between levity and tragedy in Jeymes Samuel‘s Netflix neo-Western “The Harder They Fall.” “At the end of the day, it’s quite a heartfelt and serious film in which we work our way towards by the end of the movie, so the ending was really important to us. We had to work our way backwards from that and the big reveal at the end and do that in a way that was satisfying but not predictable for the audience, but made sense.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
SEE Exclusive Video Interview: Jeymes Samuel (‘The Harder They Fall’ writer, director and composer)
“The Harder They Fall” is Samuel’s feature directorial debut from a script he co-wrote with Boaz Yakin, for which Samuel also serves as the film’s composer. The film features an all-star cast including Emmy nominee Jonathan Majors, SAG Award winner and Emmy nominee Idris Elba, Emmy nominee Zazie Beetz, Oscar winner and multiple Emmy winner Regina King, Tony nominee Delroy Lindo and Oscar nominee LaKeith Stanfield.
In the film, an outlaw reunites his gang to seek revenge against a past enemy who has been released from prison. It depicts a wild West in which people of color and women take center stage as gun-slinging heroes and villains against the backdrop of an ambitious soundtrack featuring collaborators like Shawn Carter (aka Jay Z) and Kid Cudi, filled to the brim with diverse original songs in styles ranging from hip hop to reggae, and rounded out by Samuel’s pulsating musical score.
SEE Exclusive Video Interview: Richard King (‘The Harder They Fall’ sound designer)
“It was amazing having Jeymes as the composer,” Eagles declares when discussing how Samuel’s songs and score play such a pivotal role in the film. “He has these two modes he’s able to seamlessly switch between – director and composer – and I guess seamless is the word because right from the first meeting with him, he was singing the film to me, and it was clear that there was no boundary in his head between dialogue, music and sound design and camera movement,” he says, “it’s all just one big symphony as far as Jeymes is concerned.”
When questioned about whether he found that style of film-making more challenging than usual, Eagles reveals that there’s always a certain musicality to his style of editing, whether it be cutting to certain orchestral cues or needle drops, or even in the rhythmic way in which the structures certain scenes. “There is always rhythm and melody to certain shots and the way that they play out and the way that you combine them,” he explains, adding that “it’s just not necessarily musical in the traditional sense.”