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RACHEL GETTING MARRIED

About The Production
About ten minutes into Rachel Getting Married, there's a moment when Kym (Anne Hathaway), newly returned to the Buchman family home, wanders down an upstairs hall and steps into a sunlit child's room. Violin music drifts up the stairs from the musicians practicing below. Kym looks around the room for a few seconds, and moves on. Nothing happens—but the moment is powerful.

"I wanted something sad floating through there,” recalls producer/director Jonathan Demme. "I had my headphones on, looking at the monitor, and Declan was doing this beautiful shot: Kym turns around, starts from the camera, and that was Zafer Tawil's cue downstairs to start playing. I heard that haunting music and saw Anne's face respond. I went running after Zafer and said, "Zafer, what was that beautiful tune?” He said, "That's what I composed for you.” So this rich musical theme was revealed to us as we were making the movie—and to Annie in character as Kym. It was all in the moment and there it is, onscreen.”

That spontaneity—capturing unrehearsed the moody chemistry of Zafer Tawil's composition, Declan Quinn's restless camera, and Anne Hathaway's bereft gaze—was the guiding principle of the Rachel Getting Married production.

"The looseness of Jenny's script made me feel that this shouldn't be a tightly directed movie,” says Demme. "At every step of the way, Jenny went to an unexpected place and went further and further off formula and never pulled back. I was really amused and intrigued by the fact that Jenny didn't try to make you like these characters. They were smart, edgy, irritating and yet halfway through reading the script I felt like I had become part of the family and cared tremendously about all of them.

"There's terrible trauma in this family, and yet the wedding is beautiful. I wanted Rachel Getting Married to explore both sides of that paradox—the dark struggle, and the celebration of love and family and friends.”

To portray those polarities, Demme, cast and crew took an unconventional approach to every aspect of the film's production. Long, loosely staged scenes play out accompanied by live music; documentary-style camerawork and editing tell the story; and eminent actors mingle onscreen with movie novices, musicians, artists and dancers in a creative mix.

"We all agreed to let reality happen in front of the cameras without trying to manipulate it from behind the scenes too much. Consistent with that we didn't do any rehearsals, and nobody, not even Declan, really knew what the shot was going to be until the take started taking shape.” As lengthy scenes played out from start to finish, Director of Photography Declan Quinn and his camera crew prowled the family home with handheld cameras, capturing on the fly the characters' exchanges, speeches, big gestures, and small sidelong looks. The action moved forward with few takes and as little obtrusive preparation as possible.

"In the intimate scenes,” says producer Neda Armian, "there would be the main characters in gut-wrenching conversation—and Declan. He was almost like one of the actors, part crew and part cast, relying on his instincts, skill and confidence to know where to point the camera. I like to say this movie has Jonathan's heartbeat and a lot of Declan's blood.”

(Or sweat—"That camera was heavy,” remarks Declan Quinn.)

Quinn relates, "The way we worked was very empowering to the cast, and brought the emotions to the surface. Even the crew had to look at things differently, because we all had to be on our toes and react in the moment. As the DP I don't usually operate the camera myself, but it gave me the freedom to make immediate choices; I tried to see the action as a viewer in the room would—to put the audience in the midst of it.”

During the long wedding party scenes, strategic cameras were literally placed in the actors' hands to augment the "pro” cameras: Gonz

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