Six DGA nominees reveal their secrets, from Spielberg to Kosinski

At the annual nominees symposium before the DGA Awards, the directors of the year’s biggest films shared more tidbits about their processes.

At the annual nominees symposium before the DGA Awards on Saturday morning, “Top Gun: Maverick” received the most enthusiastic applause (after a breathtaking clip of Tom Cruise soaring in an F-14). And as is often the case at these panels, the “Everything Everywhere All at Once” directing duo Daniels got the biggest laughs. Even the DGA’s packed audience took part in one of the daily warm-up exercises, waving their arms and legs.

After an extended season of prolonged PR exposure, it seems like there’s nothing new to learn from these accomplished filmmakers, but here are some tidbits that DGA moderator Jeremy Kagan gleaned from them.

Martin McDonagh, Joseph Kosinski and Todd Field at the annual DGA Awards Nominees Symposium.

Anne Thompson

1. During rehearsals for ‘The Banshees of Inisherin’, Brendan Gleeson found out that his character had committed suicide before the start of the film. Going forward, breaking off her friendship with Colin Farrell’s character was an essential survival strategy, so she was able to make a tough statement about it.

2. When the costume designer first showed Spielberg the actors in full costume as his mother (Michelle Williams), father (Paul Dano) and younger self (Gabriel Labelle), the director immediately burst into tears. The filmmaker doesn’t rehearse or storyboard a film this small: he takes notes from his actors in the makeup booth in the morning, argues with his screenwriter Tony Kushner about their use, and figures out camera angles and blocking when he arrives on set.

3. During the casting of Everything Everywhere All At Once, when Awkwafina was having scheduling difficulties, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert were reminded of Stephanie Hsu, a theater-trained, singing and dancing actress who was cast in the TV series. Awkwafina Nora from Queens.” They discovered that Hsu could nail any pitch or sound they threw at him. Casting Michelle Yeoh’s husband, who had to be able to do martial arts, was a bigger problem because the actors who could do it were tough guys. The directors were thrilled to learn that martial artist and actor Ke Huy Quan was looking for acting again, inspired by the success of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ because he was genuinely sweet to begin with: he had to act as a tough guy. .

4. Todd Field had an extra nine months on “TAR” thanks to pandemic delays to talk things over with Cate Blanchett. While working on other projects, he hired a conducting coach to work on his athletic conducting style, so that when he first appeared before the Dresden Philharmonic, he was fully accepted.

5. When it came time to shoot “Top Gun: Maverick,” Joseph Kosinski organized the location shooting schedule around early morning and early evening witching hour light to fit the aesthetic style of the first film. And thanks to Cruise, there was a high-end coffee truck on set every morning.

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