“Never do a documentary with someone just talking to the camera,” he told me, “that’s boring. Get them to fight until they bleed or die. And never move the camera away.”
I spent part of each of these nights talking to one girl with dreadlocks. She told me she was sick from cancer. She was lying to me. She told me some rich guy was “helping” her. Every now and then she’d disappear because the rich guy was around. But then we’d talk again. All her friends were prostitutes. But she said she wasn’t one. I, of course, believed her. I kept thinking about the cancer she said she had.
But I would always talk to that girl with the dread locks. I thought that if I wasn’t married I could “save her” from his mess. From the 3am world where everyone had cancer, where the night slammed everyone into the wall and forced them to confess and cry and blame and forgive until sending them out into the world unprepared, unknown, used up before they were even twenty years old. I wanted to save her because I had the ego to think I didn’t need saving. In other words, I had enough ego to think I was in love.
Been reading some of James Altucher recently. He’s not that great a writer/blogger so don’t bother following it, nor am I very enamoured of his life. But there are a few gems here and there in his reflections and that’s one nice quote from his friend up there – ‘Get them to fight until they bleed or die. And never move the camera away.’ That’s so cool right there. It’s not always easy to pull up the right emotions, and I think many roles, many of the more-difficult or intense roles like Blue Valentine’s, require more than just pretty smiles and blonde poses.
Gosling and Williams improvised dialogue; the scene in which their characters wander through New York together was unscripted, for example, with the actors—who had both appeared in The United States of Leland (2003) but had not shared scenes—getting to know each other during its filming. Before filming the marriage dissolution between the main characters, Gosling and Williams prepared by renting a home, bringing their own clothing and belongings, buying groceries with a budget based on their characters’ incomes, filming home movies and taking a family portrait at a local Sears with the actress who played their daughter, and staging out arguments. Cianfrance visited the actors and assisted them in building tension while remaining in character: “One night he told Gosling to go into Williams’ bedroom and try to make love to her. Gosling, soundly rejected, ended up sleeping on the couch.”
It’s quite something when you either go all out, or die.