When Bombshell editor Jon Poll first read the screenplay, he did so in the mindset of Roach’s style, specifically, the filmmaker’s HBO hanging chad Gore v. Bush presidential election feature Recount. But it wasn’t all about aggressive cutting like we saw in the previous Charles Randolph-scripted The Big Short, another movie about the self interests of those in power, and the injustice they execute.
“We were never trying to make the movie fast, just play emotionally,” Poll tells Crew Call “a movie tells you what you should do if you’re honoring the performances and the story, and that’s what we did.”
“It’s a movie with 220 scenes and when you read it, it’s like a house on fire,” says the editor, “a lot of time was spent finding the best way to begin the movie.” The first challenge in cutting Bombshell entailed exactly how they should start the film. Each possible way felt like a disservice to the females that the pic is about: Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron), Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) and Margot Robbie’s producer character Kayla Pospisil who is based on a handful of characters at the network.
In the end, Bombshell came together via Roach and Poll’s shorthand: The editor has a knack for selecting the best emotional scenes, ones which the director would hardly disagree with. Overall, the m.o. was performance over style and letting those dramatic scenes play.
Roach also tells us about Bombshell‘s challenged journey to the screen: how star and producer Charlize Theron kept the ship together after Annapurna pulled its money as co-financier and lead distributor of the film, with a passionate Lionsgate stepping in to co-fund with Bron Studios.
“We hit our start date and our finish date,” says Roach about the $32M production, “and stayed on budget during the entire process. We were never over-budget.”
The Austin Powers filmmaker was first tapped to direct by Theron. “I was hooked on it originally by what the predicament felt like. I knew about Megyn Kelly a little bit and watched her take on Donald Trump and I heard a lot about Gretchen Carlson and I was there when Roger was fired in Cleveland at the convention. I always wanted to find out what goes on in those rooms,” he says.
Bombshell is up for four SAG Award noms including Best Cast Ensemble, Theron as Lead Actress, and Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie in the Supporting Actress category.