//

“So Steven wanted to show Captain Nicholls’ death without you seeing him die, you don’t see him get shot. But he said, ‘Tom, this is the only piece of slow-motion in the film, because actually I don’t think slow-motion is very effective as a dramatic tool – sometimes it hits but you have to use it sparingly. It’s going to be completely silent and I want to see you see the guns and then I’m going to cut back to the guns and then I’m going to cut back to Joey and you’re not going to be there. And the camera’s going to move across your face but I don’t want you to do shock or surprise or fear or terror. How old are you?’

And I said, ‘I’m 29.’ He said, ‘Okay, so at the top of the shot, give me your War Face, the face that you’ve been doing all day, you’re winning, you’re triumphant, you’re a noble officer and it’s all going well. And then I’m going to say “Guns” and when you hear me say “Guns”, the camera will zoom in and I want you to de-age yourself by twenty years, so you’re 29 and then you’re nine. I just want to strip away the man and see the boy. Can I leave that with you?’ And I thought that was one of the most heartbreaking pieces of direction I’d ever received – it was just so emotionally acute. In the middle of this great, grand, epic action sequence, with 120 horses going 40 miles an hour, he had the space, in his filmmaking head and in his heart for something very intimate and I thought it was amazingly impressive.”

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