With a directing career as long as varied as Clint Eastwood’s, it’s no surprise that his longtime editor Joel Cox has had to practically do it all—from cutting war pictures and documentaries to the new musical, Jersey Boys.
“[It’s] very rhythmic, because there is a beat and tempo for each song, so you are editing in the tempo for each song,” Cox tells ICG Magazine about the new film. “There are no two scenes that are alike, and that isn’t just music. That’s one of the great things about editing. Every film we start is something we haven’t done before. I worked on three Dirty Harrys, but each was different because the story was different. I have a great job! Every day I go to work and I’m doing something I haven’t done before.”
Jersey Boys, like Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables, filmed all of its music live. “[Eastwood] preferred it live, on set, because he knew it would have more of a real feeling than it would have if we had pre-recorded everything or used Frankie Valli’s songs and just played them back,” Cox explains. “If he had done that, this film would never have the same feeling and heart.”
After over forty years in the business, Cox also has an expert’s perspective on the editor’s role. “Everybody on the crew has to do his or her job in order for me to be successful, because we editors are at the end of the funnel,” he says. “The art direction, the wardrobe, the photography, set decorating, all have to be correct. Everybody’s job is vital.”
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