Trevor Hogg chats with film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, production visual effects supervisor and second unit director Rob Legato, and first assistant director Adam Somner as well as visual effects supervisors Joe Farrell and Marko Forker about travelling around the world with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio without leaving New York City….
“We never use temp music when editing,” remarks Thelma Schoonmaker. “Scorsese has such a phenomenal gift for putting music to film that it isn’t necessary. As soon as we have a first cut of a scene he starts thinking of music for it [in the case where he is doing the score from pre-recorded music and there is no composer]. Sometimes Scorsese already knows what piece he will use in a scene [for example Hey Leroy after Leo has rallied the troops during an IPO launch]. I think music is so critical to a film that I wouldn’t want to use a piece that isn’t going to be part of the film in the end. It seems to me that you make so many cuts to the music that you would have to do that all over again if a different piece goes in.” Schoonmaker notes, “The scene where Jordan is training his brokers to sell to rich people was originally very long and detailed. But we felt the film didn’t need all that detail. The disrespect Jordan shows his client on the phone and the montage of brokers mouthing the phrases Jordan has taught them was more entertaining and ample to show how he shaped his firm. We cut it down and down and screened it and then cut it down again. It took a while.”
“I had a ball personally because my son just got out of film school and this became his first film experience,” remarks Rob Legato. “He was my assistant and we travelled all over the world. I had one moment where it used to be a joke where you’d say, ‘I dreamed about this day in film school.’ Usually you’re doing something horrible in the mud somewhere. But I reshot the scene where the girls board the yacht in Portofino. We stayed in a hotel that was in the square. In the morning when the sunlight was the best I woke up, went down stairs, had an espresso, walked over to where the camera was already setup, [I had everybody setup the night before], got behind the camera, did two takes in beautiful sunshine in this fabulous looking place and I said, ‘Today I really did dream about this in film school.’ I finally got to say that without being sarcastic.” Adam Somner observes, “You’re never finished or satisfied. You’re constantly trying to make it better for every shot. I’m like, ‘Ahh, that guy was a bit late! That wasn’t as good as I wanted it. Let me adjust it.’ Then you see the movie and go, ‘Wow! That actually worked out well.’ Somner adds, “It was great to do a Martin Scorsese film and great to do a good one.”