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How ‘Indignation’ Director James Schamus Brought Electricity to an 18-Minute Dialogue Scene

"The camera barely moves, but you’ll notice, there’s a fairly extensive shot list that we employed."

Former Focus Features CEO and acclaimed screenwriter and producer James Schamus makes his directorial debut with feature film, Indignation. The drama is based on a Philip Roth novel and features an 18-minute theological discussion as a central scene.

“Usually bold choices are defined by camera movements and specialty shots and visual decisions,” star Logan Lerman tells Vulture. “In this scene James made a bold choice to not do that, to instead keep the camera very still and just let us play within the frame. That gave us as actors more of a responsibility to captivate the audience, and it also allowed the dialogue and what we were saying to be the center of focus.”

“The camera barely moves, but you’ll notice, there’s a fairly extensive shot list that we employed,” adds Schamus. “I realized that if we tried to shoot the standard Hollywood coverage and then piece it together in post, it would be flabby. The scene had to have an inner logic and internal narrative, in both video and audio, that could sustain what we were trying to do. So for everything from camera angles to who’s in front of the frame, there is specific choreography. It’s actually a very physical scene — there’s probably more touching in that scene than any other scene in the movie. So even though it’s fun to describe the scene as two guys talking about God, I spent many sleepless nights getting the choreography down.”

Read the full story here.

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