Judy & Punch – Behind The Scenes

By Stevie Adams / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

I feel like I learned so much during the
process of making this movie that it’s really difficult to know what to say to
people other than you know do whatever you can to get a chance to
have that experience. Judy and Punch is a live-action
reimagining of the classic Punch and Judy puppet show but it sort of takes
that historical assembly of stock characters and tradition and it takes it
in a pretty different direction and turns what we know about that show on
its head. So when I was writing the film I wanted it to feel like it was European
but I also wanted it to feel like it was sort of no particular time and no
particular place and I had always imagined that we would
shoot somewhere in Europe. Nash Edgerton who was one of the producers suggested we do a budget
for Australia and we cost it out here and we just figure out if it’s possible. That’s the way to do it. Initially I was really reluctant to do that
because I didn’t feel like we could
find the locations that made sense to me. That was when Michele Bennett came
on board to have a look at it for us and put together a budget and Michele and I
went and did a bunch of really early-stage recces down in Victoria.
When we discovered Montsalvat I sort of looked around I thought, ‘oh ok this is
interesting, this is potentially a way to do this, and potentially the
only way to do it in Australia’. And there’s something really fantastic about
the weird mishmash of architectural styles that Montsalvat has and its
history and it just felt otherworldly in the right way. Then we went and
scouted a lot of the Dandenongs and we found some sort of forested areas with a
lot of European trees that we felt could work and it sort of
expanded from there. Ladies and gentleman The one, the only the greatest puppeteer of our time…
Professor Punch! (Cheering) So Stefan Duscio, my cinematographer and I, had worked together in the past
and I also loved his work. When she talked to me about
Judy & Punch I was very excited about the story and the place and the script,
I also knew Mia Wasikowska really well, we’d shot a couple of short films
together and so I think Mia was helpful in getting me on board that project.
We were both really excited about trying to create a certain type of look that felt
otherworldly and old-world. We initially wanted to shoot it on celluloid on film
but when that didn’t become an option we looked into the next best thing for us
which was the oldest lenses we were able to find which were Panavision B series
anamorphic lenses which have been around since the 1960s and doing a lot of
research on a company called LiveGrain from the USA who specialized in a very
authentic looking film texture and grain that could be applied to digital images
and I felt the combination of that lens and grain package while also being shot
on a modern camera like the Arri Alexa really helped give it a texture and
feeling like these images could have been captured hundreds of years ago
We were shooting five day weeks, every Saturday Stefan I’d spend the entire day
shot listing in the week to come, he actually has this really great software on his
iPad where he can do a sort of a digital shot list so we’d do that for
every scene and he would email it to me and you know quite often we’d break
from it and we wanted to allow some of the freedom to break from it but just
given the pace we wanted to have a really solid backup plan that we could
fall back on. I guess that old adage
about making the film three times is
really true you make it once when you write it, you make a different film when
you shoot it and you make the final film when you cut it and it certainly felt
true of this I mean I don’t really remember sitting down to watch my
assembly other then sort of a fog of trauma and
distress I was thinking what is this and how we gonna pull it into shape and I
was really lucky to be working with Danny Cooper who’s very experienced has
cut so many features before. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I had her very kind of calm, assured
eye over the whole thing because it was all really new for me, edits are
so sort of fascinating and weird and some things you know you’ll make these
discoveries on certain days and you think ‘oh my God why didn’t I see that
three weeks ago’ but it’s very much a process of you working through your own
relationship to the material I guess. You go from that really intense experience
surrounded by so many people and fielding questions every single day and
having to break your attention into all those different departments and just the
physical stamina of being on set and something really nice about just coming
back into a dark room with one other person. If your true want is to
resurrect our show you have to stay on the straight and sober, can you do that?
Punch, can you do that? It’s one small slip my love, I got excited. From now on only good decisions
does a Punch promise. I just think that you can’t work too
hard, there’s no such thing as too much work. Nothing is ever gonna solve itself
on set I think, like if you’re looking at something on the page and go ‘you know I know it’s not quite there yet but I think we’ll get there and the actors will
play around and it’ll get better’, in my experience you have to solve everything
before you get there and if you are there and something doesn’t feel right,
I now don’t really believe in going oh it’s okay we can figure that out in the
edit, we can make it work, I actually believe in just like fighting tooth and
nail to make it work on the day. It’s really hard to fix things when you
haven’t got what you want. I would really encourage people
if they can to try and see it on a big screen I think
it’s one of those films that when you see it with
other people around you I think it’s a really different experience, it’s an
interesting communal experience hearing how other people react to the unusual
tonal shifts and things that happen in the movie so go and see it on the big
screen if you can.

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