How ‘Assassination Nation’ Depicts a Terrifying Home Invasion | Anatomy of a Scene

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How ‘Assassination Nation’ Depicts a Terrifying Home Invasion | Anatomy of a Scene
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my name is Sam Levinson and I am the writer and director of assassination Nation so this is a scene later in the film in which the four girls are accused of being behind the massive data hack that resulted in all the residents of Salem’s private information being leaked they’re getting death threats online they’re posting their address and M displayed by Abra here is worried that her mother forgot to set the alarm initially it was written as a house playing the script and because we’re a low budget film leak we couldn’t afford a house fire so Marcel Razz the cinematographer of myself sat in a room with a kind of a 3D model of this house that we have found that was in Louisiana I kind of was on the corner so we could basically it had you know three sides that way if we could all see the goal was to create a scene it felt the Cinematic as as a house fire but with but something we can shoot and in 10 hours so we sat there with basically the 3D model that Michael Grace our production designer a built-in tried to figure out what’s the scariest way possible that we could sort of you know choreographed this home-invasion sequence and we came up with this idea of shooting it from the outside and actually on on this tape here on the sun guy grabs Abra and pulls her towards the window he actually slams his hand into the class cuz last actually shattered for real which is a moment kind of hard drops is a filmmaker and you hope everyone’s okay but that ended up having to be our last take for that section right there because we couldn’t place the window so we kind of design this dolly track that a techno crane with a 42-foot could sit on so I can actually go around all three sides the house without a single caught and so from that point on it was just a matter of getting the choreography in the timing right so you know I would sit with Marcel behind the crane and improve walk with him and weather radio that I can communicate with all the actors inside to make sure that they hit their marks or to make sure that they were you know the camera was keeping up with them or they were keeping up with the camera so it felt like this was something it was in motion and is continuing to switch adult suspense there’s also something that felt in a very apropos about watching this or unfold and in being helpless to it which is I think something that we often feel when scrolling through Twitter or the ramen and then looking at these tragedies on full where we become sort of Spectators to it.
In “Assassination Nation,” a town is plunged into chaos when the data of some of its residents are leaked online. This sequence captures a break-in by masked burglars that comes as a result of the anger from the hacks. Read the NYT review of the film here: https://nyti.ms/2Nt1pAS

The writer and director Sam Levinson lets the scene play out in a long take shot from outside looking into the house, making the audience helpless spectators of the danger that arises. The scene is shot with a crane that moves from the second floor to the first and back again. Working with his cinematographer Marcell Rév, Mr. Levinson first tested out the shot by strapping iPhones to poles and doing a practice shoot of the sequence. In this video, he describes how they pulled it off in production.

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