You have already worked with Jordan several times on two feature films and a bunch of TV shows. Are you and him right now in a state where you have shorthand and can get into each other’s thoughts a little bit?
We come to us with full knowledge of what to expect in terms of what we think about, what we are interested in and how we feel about various aspects of our work. We don’t learn much more about each other, but we do have one thing in common, and one of the reasons I think we work well together is that Jordan is always challenging himself by trying to reinvent the way he does what he does. I should try this too.
We could probably be a lot more comfortable than we are now, but there are always new challenges and always new things to figure out, so we figure out how to do each project on its own terms each time. I started working with him almost eight years ago, so there’s a part of editing that really gets stuck and allows you to talk about ideas, and that part just gets better and better the longer you do it.
What was the brief description of “No” when he first approached you about working on it? What did he tell you that he would look for?
Two things. One is an amazing collaborator with Jordan in the sense that he is extremely generous in how much inside his own thought process he allows you to be. Even before he finished the script, he would take me to lunch and tell me the whole idea like he was supposed to pitch it to me, which he shouldn’t have to do, but it’s part of his process to discuss it with the people he will work. He did the same with the actors, cameraman and production designer. He goes through this series of conversations with the people he is going to work with as he develops.
One thing that’s really exciting about the position Jordan has created for himself is that he’s a brand, he’s an intellectual property, he’s a writer, he’s a director, and he’s a producer, so he keeps pushing the project forward all the time. While it’s being built, it can turn and tune rather than feel locked in and beholden to some material that wasn’t his. There is a basic idea and a basic set of characters. When they find places, he thinks, “Oh, this is interesting. Maybe we should change this or that aspect of the story,” based on the realities of casting, production design, locations and all that.
The main briefing was about family, sibling relationships, secondary relationships with Hollywood and the media, and how it relates thematically to encountering something incredibly powerful and “other”, and the journey of finding what is it so, and why do we strive to capture and understand something like that, like a UFO or an alien or something like that.
However, the other part of what he definitely made clear was that he was creatively throwing everything he had into No, and that he was inviting me and other employees to bring in all the ways that in our opinion, should be our work. made for this project.