Cyrano director Joe Wright had to pull off a ‘clever little trick’ to keep the film’s best scene from being cut

There’s not a single number on the Joe Wright soundtrack Cyrano it’s not stellar, but the “Wherever I Fall” war game is something special. Sung by a trio of anonymous soldiers – performed by Glen Hansard, Sam Amidon and Scott Folan – the song’s verses are structured like letters written to loved ones before what was determined to be a suicidal charge on the battlefield, and it is both beautiful and emotionally devastating. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feature any of the film’s main stars, it’s the best scene in the movie…which is why it was quite shocking to learn that it was almost cut from the production schedule.

Fortunately, Joe Wright recognized the impact of “Wherever I Fall” and refused to let it be cut from his film – using his directorial skills to ensure the sequence became essential to the production.

I learned this incredible anecdote last week when I had the pleasure of interviewing the filmmaker and Cyrano star Kelvin Harrison Jr. during the film’s virtual press day. Having been bowled over by the song in the film, I asked the two men separately what it was like to shoot it, and they explained how it barely made it to the editing room, let alone the proverbial floor. from the editing room. Wright explained,

We were on Mount Etna to shoot this film… We started working at 16,000 feet, then the snow fell and we couldn’t get to our set. So we had to descend to 8,000 feet, and we lost a lot of time in that move, and so the schedule was compromised. People, everyone, were looking for cuts, and since this song doesn’t include any of our main characters, it seemed like an obvious candidate to some. But I felt the song was really the emotional backbone of the movie.

Some say every creative must kill their darlings, but “Wherever I Fall” was one Joe Wright wouldn’t let be murdered. The song was originally written as part of the musical the new film is based on (hence the lack of an Oscar nomination), with music by Bryce and Aaron Dessner, and lyrics by Matt Beringer and Carin Besser, and the director wouldn’t let him be ignored in his adaptation.

So what did the filmmaker do? He made it impossible to delete the scene by changing his shooting plans. He mixed an establishment shot with the song’s interpretation, and the way it was constructed means it became essential in the edit. In the words of Joe Wright,

I determined that he definitely had to stay and designed the shots in such a way that I covered him as part of the main shot, the wide shot, which slowly pulled back through the guys at the end to reveal Cyrano and Christian – and thus make it impossible to cut. And I had to do the close-ups of the guys. And so that was a nifty little thing on my part.

While the scene is a special thing to see as part of the cinematic experience of Cyranoyou can listen to the heartbreaking song “Wherever I Fall” below:

Joe Wright’s decision to save the footage not only benefited the film as a whole, but also impressed his collaborators. As I had spoken to him about earlier in the day, Kelvin Harrison Jr. was actually the first person to tell me about the director’s “clever little trick,” and he expressed his admiration for Wright’s inspiration and execution:

Joe was kind of…Joe was brilliant, and not even kind of, just brilliant. He told me, ‘If I make a set-up plan with the soldiers, singing the song in the scene with the two main actors, then they can’t cut the song.’ And so it kept the song in there, but it was always our favorite number.

Continuing, the actor reflected on what it was like when the song was first performed during the Cyrano the script for the cast has been read, and what he remembers is emotional devastation:

When we did the reading, I remember we were all playing. The studio was there, the producers were there, everyone from Sicily was there, and we were like sobbing. Glen Hansard and Sam Amidon and, oh my God, Scott [Folan]all just crushed.

Audiences everywhere can experience the power of “Wherever I Fall” for themselves this week, as Cyrano – starring Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett and Ben Mendelsohn with Kelvin Harrison Jr. – will arrive in cinemas everywhere this Friday, February 25. Do yourself a favor and buy a ticket, and do yourself another favor by bringing a tissue travel pack.

To see all the movies coming out by the end of December, check out our 2022 movie release schedule.

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