How did the horror movie Pearl reach its daring climax?

[Ed. note: Significant spoilers ahead for Pearl.]

By the time T West Pearl In the third act, there aren’t many surprises left in store – just a great sense of awe and the inevitability of a horror movie. This is partly because Pearl It is a prequel to the horror movie West XAnd anyone who’s seen this movie already knows where the title character (again played by Mia Goth) ends up being. At the same time, the film demonstrates how cruel and obsessive Pearl can be, prepping her final moves in advance.

But there’s a particularly unorthodox surprise—a six-minute, one-shot monologue as she details her psychosis and how she feels about the giant hole inside her that made her fatal. West keeps a steady camera close to Goth’s face the entire time as she stumbles into the darkness of her psyche, another emotion chasing on her face as she tries to explain herself to someone who isn’t there. It’s a stunningly effective piece of acting and filmmaking, at the same time simple and exhilarating.

“From my side of the street, it wasn’t technically that complicated,” West told Polygon. “Two people were sitting at a table in a studio. It’s a dream of how to shoot something – nothing can go wrong.”

Ironically, however, most of West’s focus in filming the scene went to making sure nothing went wrong. “I was trying really hard to stay out of Mia’s way, trying to get the crew very focused,” he says. “Once we got to the monologue, no one was allowed to spoil anything. If there was anything wrong—if there was a phone ringing, or someone was in the eye line, or the microphone was in the picture—it had to happen before the monologue started, Because if something goes wrong, it will kill everything.”

Photo: Christopher Moss/A24

“The stakes were really high,” West says. “It was like filming a stunt or an explosion, because everything had to be technically ready for this to happen effectively. So I was doing my best to try and clear the way so Mia could do what she was going to do.”

Goth says the main issue for her part was overcoming the fear of failure. “The previous period was nerve-wracking,” she says. “I’ve never done anything like this before. A lot of preparation went into it. I would cross my streaks daily. The last thing I wanted to do on the day we were planning to shoot was still cross my streaks. If that was the case, I would have failed before I stepped on the group “.

West set the scene for the final day of filming, which Goth calls a “genius idea” that allowed her to put “all the emotional turmoil and intensity that came from filming” into the scene. She says he offered her out: “Don’t worry, if you can’t do it in one take, we can always cut it out.” But she was determined to bring out the scene as he imagined it. “We just went up to the set and filmed it. Once we realized, ‘Okay, we are Can Do this, “We’re just starting to enjoy it. I’ve probably done it five or six times.”

Usually, by the final act, horror movies escalate into a wave of bloodshed or destruction. West bakes it PearlIt ended too, but he really considered Goth’s monologue to be the film’s flashy ending.

“This movie needed a big climax,” he says. “Although it is very rich aesthetically, and very glamorous and dazzling in style, the climax must be something internal and psychological, and has a lot to do with what Pearl thinks and feels. And it literally became: ‘Well, what if you just told us what’s going on? in her head? How do we arrange it so that it makes sense? ”

He wanted the monologue to be a one-shot in order to “connect with the audience, emotionally and psychologically” but also to interest and dissect critics and audiences—”[like] The conversation we’re having now about it,” he says. He knew the shot would be unforgettable. “It’s a big climax, but it’s an unexpected climax. No one would expect the climax of a horror movie to be a six-minute close-up of someone’s face. I felt refreshed and excited.”

Pearl (Mia Goth) in Pearl in Te West walks side by side with her sister-in-law Misty (Emma Jenkins-Borough) on the edge of a vast dead cornfield in Pearl

Photo: Christopher Moss/A24

The West says that all X triple – XAnd the Pearland the sequel to the recently announced X Maxine – He places great emphasis on “bringing out the craft of filmmaking, whether it’s camera direction, production design, makeup effects, whatever.” X The film is about a pornographic film made by a group of amateur filmmakers in the 1970s hoping to take advantage of the camera technology and distribute the increasingly accessible films of the era, making them rich and famous in the process – and the film itself was shot and created like a horror movie. the seventies. Pearlin 1918, It revolves around Pearl’s obsession with heading to Hollywood to become the latest star in the decade’s growing movie boom. And the film is shot and made like a classic-era Technicolor melodrama, with a tone consciously taken from Disney films. .’s first teaser Maxine It promises a movie set in the ’80s VHS boom, with VHS visual style and ’80s synthesis points to match.

But West says he doesn’t want the series’ focus on crafts to be limited to the technical aspects — he notes that acting is also an important craft of the film, and that the one-shot monologue “seems like a real way to showcase that craft.”

For Guth, this craft is also about going out of its own way. The final shot of the movie is another long, uninterrupted shot of Pearl’s face, as she faces what she did throughout the movie and gets down on it – all while maintaining that big, fake Hollywood smile that’s increasingly unnerving as she shivering and crying at the same time.

“Honestly, there wasn’t much thought during that scene,” Goth says. “You just hope for all the work you do to get to this scene […] You’re just hoping you’ll make up and be able to let go of all that, and somehow the remnants of it all. [work] He’s left a mark on you, so by the time you start setting up, you can be as present as possible. I try not to think too much during the scene. I think this can be a little dangerous for an actor, that kind of gets you out of it. There is just more feeling.”

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