Creating The World Of Arbitrage
Jarecki always wanted the world of the film to feel real, devoid of typical
convention and false notes. Because of his intricate knowledge and research, he
has crafted a film
that tries to show in an entertaining and easy to understand way how the world
of finance and its
key players really do work.
One of the most challenging aspects of the filmmaking was creating a
with a low budget. "We had to document that New York and it's expensive!" says
wanted the real places that these people go to so the audience could get a real
sense of the world
these characters live in.
"It was very important for Nick to shoot this film in New York and that could
have been a
challenge," Salerno explains. "However, his friends opened a lot of doors, and
we were very
fortunate to get access to places that we normally wouldn't have been able to
otherwise. They add
another layer to the reality of what we are seeing. We see the glamour in the
Dassault jets, the
banquet halls and tuxedos, but we also end up seeing the sadness underneath. I
think it's one of
the most realistic portrayals of this world I've seen on screen."
Jarecki's contacts gave them access to such prestigious New York landmarks as
Seasons, The Plaza Hotel and the GM Building on Fifth Avenue that serves as
empire, probably one of the most prestigious offices in Manhattan. "I didn't
think we would ever
get The Four Seasons or the GM building -- I thought we'd be in a banquet hall
in Long Island,
but it's another testament to our director who wouldn't compromise on any level
so we ended up
shooting in some of the most beautiful and iconic locations in Manhattan," adds
Additionally, Jarecki's neighbor in New York turned out to be a Judge so she
them to shoot in the Grand Jury room in the criminal courts in Manhattan at 100
which no film had every shot in (and where the next day Dominique Strauss Kahn
indictment!). Location manager Damon Gordon, also managed to secure full access
Triborough Bridge, which had never been shot before.
"After everything had collapsed for what seemed like the 19th time, it was
happening for real, and the night before the shoot, Kevin Turen said to me --
'no compromises, no
gimmicks.' That became our mantra. We brought that commitment and enthusiasm and
it in like-minded, passionate New Yorkers who supported us."
Jarecki surrounded himself with an incredibly strong team in costume, design and
cinematography. Together they were able to make the world he wanted to create
very real as well
as bring a high level of beauty to it. "I wanted a very modern, contemporary
look for the film,
teeming with wealth -- the end of the gilded age, which Beth (Production
Designer) created," says
Jarecki. "We had extensive meetings because I knew the locations intimately. I'm
a big fan of
design and Christian Liaigre was my reference point for what we should see.
Everything had to be
dripping with luxury and authenticity was the key."
For a first-time director, the role of the cinematographer is always critical.
"One of the
most important people on this film is Yorick Le Saux, our Director of
Bickford. Before hiring Le Saux, Jarecki met with 35 cinematographers over the
course of a year
when he was trying to envision the picture. Towards the end, Turen, Jarecki and
watched the five-hour mini series Carlos, on DVD. "We were actually looking at a
of it to evaluate an actor's work. Ten minutes in we yelled out, 'Who's this DoP?!
"We were blown away by the style of it," recalls Bickford. After watching I am
Julia, Jarecki and Bickford flew to London, and Le Saux took the train from
Paris to meet them at
their hotel. "It was a quick coffee and somehow we knew at the end of it that we
were old friends
-- kindred spirits. And I felt I could learn everything from him. He was clearly
the guy." Once Le
Saux was on board, they spent a month planning the look of the film.
"Yorick is a master craftsman and artist. I was so lucky he came on board," says
"We shot this film pretty quickly and with over 60 locations, we were moving all
the time. But I
knew we needed a classic feel to the film. So without enough resources or time
-- how do we get
that? And the answer is Yorick Le Saux. Right from the beginning he said we
would make a plan
and then we would throw it all out to maintain spontaneity in the moment and the
happy accidents. And after a month of storyboarding and shot listing, that's
exactly what we did,"
Arbitrage was filmed on 35mm and they spent weeks in postproduction tweaking the
colors to get the picture as beautiful possible, "to paint a strange, fused
portrait of our 'golden
New York,' a bit of a chaotic mess -- much like Robert Miller himself," explains
Cliff Martinez who recently scored Drive and Contagion wrote a haunting score
provided the film's final dimension. Notes Jarecki, "Cliff's score further
unlocks the emotional
heart of the film while driving it forward with an unrelenting tension and
intrigue. New York as
he hears it is a scary place, but filled with moments of love and life."
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