Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Financial Meltdown Gets Its Close-Up at Sundance

Source : Wall Street Journal
Date : January 27, 2011
By Michelle Kung

Set over the course of 24 tense hours at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, filmmaker J.C. Chandor’s “Margin Call” provides an inside look at how one fictional investment firm reacts after entry-level analyst Peter Sullivan (played by Zachary Quinto, who also co-produced the film) discovers a flaw within their financial system. One by one, all of Sullivan’s bosses (including Kevin Spacey, Simon Baker and Jeremy Irons) descend on the company’s Manhattan office building and try desperately to find a solution to their woes.

Picked up for distribution by Roadside Attractions for $1 million at the Sundance Film Festival, the star-heavy indie feature was clearly a great bonding experience for all the actors. Co-stars Quinto (”Star Trek”), Baker (”The Mentalist”), Paul Bettany (”A Beautiful Mind”), Demi Moore, and Penn Badgley (”Gossip Girl”) sat down to talk about their experiences shooting the film together. (More with Chandor, Spacey, and Stanley Tucci in a later post.)

The Wall Street Journal: Just watching everyone interact, it seems like all of you got along swimmingly on set. Had any of you worked together before?

Zachary Quinto: I had seen Kevin a number of times in London and met him through his producing partner, though I didn’t speak to him until after he had signed on to the project. He responded much more to the material than to me.

Demi Moore: You also did an amazing job of nurturing the film.

Simon Baker: We were working with these good blokes that we wanted to do well.

Penn Badgley: I mean, most producers are balding and old and whatever, and [Quinto and his co-producers] were not. I was shocked as how adept they all were as first-time producers.

Zachary Quinto: There’s an ease we have with each other. I’ve known my producing partners each for half my life; I’ve known Neal [Dodson] since I was 15, so we go way back. I think that our shorthand and history with each other was a great genesis for bringing people in and getting people to trust us.

Penn Badgley: And they’re all so competent in different ways. They compliment each other sort of perfectly. The company works.

Demi Moore: There was an interesting short time frame every day, so there was also a high level of appreciation every day, whether spoken or not spoken. That goes a long way when you’re working all night.

Paul Bettany: Something happened on this tiny little movie that’s never happened to me before, ever, which is that we shot a scene on the first day of the movie, and they did a s— job. And then they re-shot the scene. On the day, I said, ‘I don’t think we got it,’ and they said, ‘We agree,’ and even though we had basically no budget, we re-shot it.

Simon Baker: What scene?

Paul Bettany: The scene where we drive over the bridge.

Simon Baker: That’s a good scene.

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