Joe Wright discusses Cyrano

Director Joe Wright discusses Cyrano

December 12, 2021 A DGA Membership Screening Q&A in Los Angeles

A timeless tale of love is re-imagined in Director Joe Wright’s romantic musical-drama, Cyrano.

Based on the play by Edmond Rostand, Wright’s film adds singing to the story of the brilliant Cyrano de Bergerac (Peter Dinklage) who can dazzle with a word or a sword, but cannot bring himself to declare his love for his beautiful friend Roxanne (Haley Bennett), convinced that his appearance makes such a romance impossible. His situation becomes even more complicated when Roxanne falls in love with a new recruit, the handsome Christian (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.).

On December 12, after the DGA membership screening in Los Angeles, Wright discussed the making of Cyrano during a Q&A moderated by Director Sam Taylor-Johnson (A Million Little Pieces).

Asked what advice he would pass on to fellow Director, Wright replied, “I’ve got it tattooed on my arm. It says, ‘Don’t take it personally’ because you get stuff thrown at you all the time. The other tattoo actually says, ‘Start with the wide shot.’ It’s the simple things. You can get so excited about the close-ups that you shoot yourself into a corner with a close-up and then realize that the wide shot doesn’t work. I still storyboard everything I do, or shot list. I was very lucky to have a brilliant first AD, Brigitte Rigby, on my first ever TV job. I was so green. I was 27 and didn’t know anything about what I was doing. I’d made some short films and I’d suddenly landed this three-part drama for the BBC. In the back of a bus on the location scout she said to me, ‘You do do a shot everyday don’t you?’ and I was like [lying] ‘Oh yeah absolutely.’ Now I do shot lists. I got into a habit of it and I still do them. In a way they’re kind of a safety net. I don’t actually have to shoot what’s on the shot list, but if I don’t have any better ideas on the day then I’ve always got the shot list there to fall back on. Then they enable me to walk onto set and with some kind of confidence.”

In addition to Cyrano, Wright’s credits include the feature films, The Woman in the Window, Darkest Hour, Pan, Anna Karenina, Hanna, The Soloist, Atonement and Pride & Prejudice; an episode of the anthology series, Black Mirror; and episodes of the mini-series, The Last King, Bob & Rose and Nature Boy. Wright has been a DGA member since 2007.

You can listen to Wright's Q&A by clicking the podcast episode embedded below. You can find more DGA podcast episodes here.


Q&A photos by Trixie Textor – Print courtesy of United Artists Releasing

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