Born On This Day — June 20, 1941

Stephen Frears

Well, while you’re shooting, you’re bringing a story to life. It always goes in slightly unexpected ways. You’re trying to make sure everybody’s in the same film. John Gielgud always said, ‘If you’re lucky, you know what film you’re in.’ You want everyone comfortable with each other, agreeing on circumstances. You’re asking actors, indeed, everybody on set, to be intimate, to be a family in a world that’s the product of their mutual imagination. You’re the patriarch, holding the whole thing together, depending on everyone being collaborative. In editing, you discover what you’ve got, what you’ve missed, what you should have done, things you hadn’t thought of, holes that need filling. That’s why Woody Allen re-shoots. It’s done in light of what he’s learned, because you make films in the dark, learning as you go. I’m always so curious to see where it’s leading. To find out, you must let go, must relinquish control and be open.

—Stephen Frears