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‘The Fits’ Director on Finding Authenticity with Non-Actors

The Fits director Anna Rose Holmer talks to The Frame about the collaborative process of filming her coming-of-age story–about girls in a dance troupe who mysteriously start having convulsions–with non-actors.

“In the original script, dialogue was kept to a minimum,” Holmer explains. “We were really focused on movement and the physicality of the story and putting all of that narrative tension in motion and in dance. We always knew that we wanted to collaborate with the actors, so all the dialogue was [considered] placeholder. I was there for about six weeks before we started filming, and what I said to all of the cast was, ‘This [is] just a map. It is not a bible. I want you to take authorship alongside of us in this because it’s very important that you feel comfortable to explore these characters in the same way that we’re exploring them and bring your voice to the table.’ All the dialogue for the most part was rewritten by the cast. It is about authenticity, but it’s also about ownership and validation, and it was just a real exploratory phase for us to kind of tackle the script as director and actors and really break it down. As they said, some of our dialogue was “real throwback” because we were Toni’s age in 1996. So they gave it a really great upgrade and I’m really grateful for that.”

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