To­pher Grace, phan­tom (re-)edi­tor

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - By JORDAN ZAKAR­IAN

WHEN To­pher Grace grad­u­ated up the Hol­ly­wood chain and started adding pro­ducer cred­its to his re­sume, it dawned on him that he had lit­tle idea what went on once his du­ties in front of the cam­era were com­plete. Af­ter giv­ing what turned out to be some bad notes to an edi­tor, Grace, 35, re­alised that he needed to en­hance his film ed­u­ca­tion, pronto.

“I’d never been in edit­ing be­fore, and as with a lot of ac­tors, you shoot the movie and go, ‘What took you guys so long?’ at the pre­miere,” Grace told TheWrap. “And once you’re edit­ing, you go, ‘Oh my God, there’s so much work to be done.’ I felt so bad that I started get­ting into edit­ing.” The re­sult was what ul­ti­mately be­came his new web­site, Ce­re­, a com­pen­dium of all things Grace, in­clud­ing ab­bre­vi­ated ver­sions of cult movies.

His first ma­jor project was a re-cut of the Star Wars pre­quels, for which he win­nowed down three mas­sive films into a tidy, 85-minute ad­ven­ture. He did it on a lark, choos­ing the pre­quels be­cause he needed a ton of footage (and, as he says, the tril­ogy “only had one good movie” in it com­bined).

When he was done, he held a screen­ing of the fin­ished prod­uct for some blog­gers in Los Angeles.

Given the venom felt to­ward the sec­ond of Ge­orge Lu­cas’ trilo­gies, and the fact that many blog­gers gave favourable re­views to the story of Anakin Sky­walker, the screen­ing be­came a topic of con­sid­er­able con­ver­sa­tion. Grace wasn’t on Twit­ter, though, and re­alised that he needed a way to join in the con­ver­sa­tion.

“I thought, I’m just not witty enough to write some­thing in 140 char­ac­ters,” he ad­mits. “Here, I can say, in 140 char­ac­ters or a Face­book post, ‘Hey, come to my room ev­ery day and hang out, and I’ll have some­thing cool to share.’ And I like do­ing orig­i­nal stuff, a lot of it is just call­ing at­ten­tion to stuff I like.”

Right now, the site is pop­u­lated with old and un­pro­duced scripts, lost pi­lots, short films, funny edited im­ages, and other pop cul­ture ephemera. Also, more of those re-cut films.

First up: A trailer-length cut of the Brock Lan­ders adult films from Boo­gie Nights, which fea­tured star Mark Wahlberg (as Dirk Dig­gler) and John C Reilly (as Reed Rothchild) as gun­sling­ing sex ma­chines; much of the footage came from the DVD ex­tras.

While he didn’t con­sult Boo­gie Nights di­rec­tor Paul Thomas An­der­son, Grace says, “I can’t wait to hear from some of these film­mak­ers,” and that it’d be his dream to have some of the di­rec­tors of his re-cut movies at his screen­ings. Con­sider that an in­vi­ta­tion to Steven Spiel­berg; one of Grace’s next big “pre­mieres” will be a new ver­sion of Close En­coun­ters Of The Third Kind, which will fea­ture a “remix”, as he calls it, of the many dif­fer­ent al­ter­nate ver­sions of that film.

An­other film Grace has heav­ily tweaked is Joe Wright’s 2007 drama Atone­ment, which he whit­tled down to 20 min­utes and gave a happy end­ing.

“It’s all done out of rev­er­ence for the ma­te­rial, none of it is done to make fun of the stuff,” he said.

The one ma­jor rule for the ac­tor – and he is still pri­mar­ily an ac­tor, with roles in Christo­pher Nolan’s In­ter­stel­lar and the Aubrey Plaza-Chris Evans com­edy A Many Splin­tered Thing – is that he won’t re-cut projects in which he’s ap­peared. That in­cludes the show that made him fa­mous, That ’70s Show.

“It’s a lit­tle self-cen­tred and also very hard when you’re in it, be­cause you have a vain opin­ion of the ac­tor in it,” he ex­plains. “That’s why, I could have got­ten my hands on films I’d been in and cut them, but the rea­son I want to do other films is, you’re re­ally think­ing about the whole twohour ex­pe­ri­ence, not one per­former in it.” Ce­re­ will of­fer one new post per day, mak­ing it a low­com­mit­ment en­deav­our that Grace still says will pro­vide a more nat­u­ral ap­prox­i­ma­tion of his per­son­al­ity and com­mu­ni­ca­tion with fans. – Reuters

When he’s not act­ing, To­pher Grace is keep­ing busy – and ex­pand­ing his film­mak­ing skills – re-edit­ing cult movies for his web­site. — Filepic

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