The Believer

The Believer

The Believer

On Directing Actors

Be simple with what you tell them. Don’t spend too
much time explaining. It’s a lot like sports. In sports, if you
ask somebody to do something that they know how to do that’s good
for them, they will often do it and do it brilliantly. And if you
asked them to do something they don’t know how to do then they suffer,
and it will be awkward. One of the most important things in working
with actors is to learn what they are and what they do naturally
and work with that; go with that; use that.

On Finding an Actor’s Strength

You learn by watching people. One of the things I
learned with Ryan Gosling– Ryan is a fabulously talented person
–was that he began as a dancer and his body was very crucial to
his work. And I realized that one of the reasons I picked him was
that when he said lines they seemed to come out of the whole physical
being. And I found that whenever anything was amiss with the performance,
all I would have to do was give him some sense of movement or some
sense of bodily being and it would all resolve. Once he focused
on his body, the rest of it came naturally.

On Preparing for Locations

Storyboards that aren’t location specific are much
less useful. They give you some ideas, but when you get to the location
you find this doesn’t work, that doesn’t work. We were often re-blocking
on the set.

On Pacing Yourself

Necessity is a great benefit. You know you don’t have
enough time. We always made our day. We almost always made
our days. But we always had to keep going; we could never slow down.
There was never the luxury of doodling.

On Next Time

The one thing I tell myself I would do next time is
that I will prepare even more. Though I had storyboards, what I
should have done is sat and poured over those storyboards for hours,
thinking the shot through. Not just seeing the shot but feeling
it and knowing what emotions I wanted. Often, in the course of making
this, I felt that I was mechanically following a plan, rather than
animating it, and making it alive. I think that was largely because
I hadn’t worked enough in advance. I did a lot but didn’t realize
how much more I could have done.

On Mastering the Edit

The director should know how to use the AVID. The
director should not be dependent on the editor, even though the
editor makes many decisions. I had two editors and they were both
great. If I could have used the AVID myself, I think that would
have made a big difference.

On Writing Lessons Learned in the Director’s Chair

I learned a lot about simplification. I learned that
you better find a simple way to express complicated emotions, but
that you can trust that if the thing is there in the script, it
is going to come out.

Henry Bean Filmography as Writer

The Believer (2001): Writer/Director
Venus Rising (1995)
Deep Cover (1992)
Internal Affairs (1990)
Golden Eighties (1986)
Running Brave (1983)
1988: The Remake (1977)