Derek Cianfrance Breaks Down Scenes from 'The Place Beyond the Pines'

Collider Breaking Down Place Beyond the PinesDerek Cianfrance's followup to the extraordinary Blue Valentine comes in the form of a three act Shakespearian crime drama, The Place Beyond the Pines. Collider goes behind the scenes with the director to discuss the filmmaking and break down a few scenes, discussing camera placement, character choices, working with 'movie stars' and blending a performance together across many different takes. Hit the jump for the video and analysis:

Derek talks about his working style:

I don't have a video village, I have a monitor that I walk with. I hate seeing trucks, I hate seeing the machinery of a movie when I'm shooting, it drives me crazy. When a photographer can't go anywhere he wants to go, can't go around the actors, it drives my crazy because it's so limiting. I want the photography to be free, to be physically engaged with the people.

On the chronology of a shooting schedule:

I like shooting out of chronological order you can kind of organize your schedule in a way that doesn't feel intuitive in terms of chronology but actually can really help actors. Because Eva and Ryan can go into this scene with a whole wealth of experience and knowledge to who their characters were. They knew where they got to in the film so we knew where we could start.

On screenplay length:

My script is 158 pages and my financier said they would give me the money if I could get it down to 120, so I found the 'shrink font' button. And I found out how to extend the margins. And no one caught on, and I'm in the editing room six months later and I've got a three and a half hour movie on my hands, and I couldn't find the 'shrink font' button in the editing room. In the editing it became elliptical. Editing is like sculpture, you take things away and you reveal the shape of something.

Derek Cianfrance also speaks in detail about how his history as a documentary filmmaker has translated to his narrative work, and shares very lucid insight on how craft-based decisions match up with the story he wants to tell. I found it particularly of interest how he speaks about working with 'movie stars' and his desire to strip them down and display them in an ordinary light, versus showing ordinary people in an extraordinary light in documentaries.

Did you see the film? Share your thoughts and join the discussion in the comments below.

Link: 'Breaking Down the Movie' Episode 1 -- Collider

Your Comment


TPBtP is an extremely admirable film and pound for pound Cianfrance does what other filmmakers fail to do with ten times the budget of Place. Cough** Gatsby. The young actors in the film are incredible as well as the leads. The best film of the year I've seen so far. Cianfrance is one to watch.

May 11, 2013 at 9:39PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


The Place Beyond the Pines was a phenomenal film. I was floored at the first viewing so much that I was anxious to see it again as soon as I could. Even on the second viewing I found myself catching a lot of plot connections I had missed the first time. All in all it is a great example of how to build a drama that feels like several other genre films as well. I keep bringing up Scorsese in comparison when talking to friends about this film.

May 12, 2013 at 4:42AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

TJ Webb

Really good interview. Thanks NFS and Collider.

May 12, 2013 at 9:05AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


TPBtP completely floored me. Cianfrance seems to have intimacy in his writing and actor directing that very few have. I'm a father, and this film being about fathers and sons really hit me hard. Brought me to tears several times. He is definitely one to watch. If you haven't, go watch his stuff. Cianfrance is bringing a raw, gritty, and realistic style of directing back into big pictures, in my opinion. It's so cool to see former documentary filmmakers become successful in scripted work. I think documentary work builds so much experience in learning how people behave in the real world, anthropologically.

May 12, 2013 at 11:38AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


FatRick says, more like this please!

May 12, 2013 at 3:17PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Amazing behind the scenes!! Wish there would be more series like this! is brilliant!
Thanks!!! :)

May 14, 2013 at 3:39AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Brilliantly directed movie. Could've easily become sentimental melodrama, but he kept it real and raw. Terrific interview. I agree more like this please/

May 16, 2013 at 2:32PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM