Behind the Scenes of Movies

Behind the Scenes

The best movies make you completely forget you’re watching a movie. But! It’s also fascinating to get a peek behind the scenes. Anatomy of a Scene asks directors to narrate a few minutes of a film, and explain how they coached actors, set up props and handled awkward slip ups. I love them! Just for fun, on this chilly Tuesday, here are six of my favorite behind-the-scenes…

Wes Anderson’s line about the actor who didn’t want to pretend to do CPR made me laugh; also check out these awesome Grand Hotel Budapest gifs!

This last movie, Brooklyn, is playing in select theaters, but will be released nationwide on November 25th. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a — very rare — 99% rating. Will you see it? (I’m reading the book, which is fantastic so far.)

Aren’t these cool? Which good movies have you seen lately? Alex and I watched Good Will Hunting the other day — it really holds up!

P.S. 30 movies to watch with your relatives, and the best documentary I’ve seen in years.

  1. sara says...

    Love this so much Joanna! These videos have been one of my favorite reasons to visit the NY Times website. One of the best humans working in film, Mekado Murphy (@mekadomurphy), creates these beautiful Anatomy of Scene videos alongside filmmakers. Mekado is one of the very best fellas out there, and it made me so incredibly happy to see this post on your site today.

  2. LOVE this! I’ve always been fascinated by the behind the scenes process of film and television. Can’t wait to see Brooklyn soon. It looks so good! Didn’t realize it was a book either.

  3. Emily says...

    I saw Brooklyn at a film festival about a month ago!
    It is so wonderfully good.
    You will laugh, and cry, and leave the theatre feeling all gushy, and ready to see it again!
    I just got the book to read!

  4. Train wreck was absolutely hilarious, as is the outtake you posted – thanks for the laugh Jo!

    Nat Lewis
    Rocky Mountain Decals – Cute Wall Decals for kids, and kids at heart!

  5. Carol Allen says...

    Oh wow! I just watched the Trailer for Brooklyn! I feel like that could be me!!! I moved to MN from Ireland 7 years ago. And I made America home when I married my husband. I am SO happy & I LOVE my life here. But home is home. And while I live here on Earth I will never truly be home, my heart will always be torn.

  6. MJ says...

    “Testament of Youth” is so good and gorgeously filmed. I loved the book too!

  7. I’m living in the UK right now and Brooklyn is already out in theaters here and I’m DYING to see it, but my husband is not that keen on it. I’m hoping I can convince him to come with me or else I might just go alone while he’s at work and the kids are in school!

  8. This is way cool!

    On a side note, I listed to John Crowley’s and Saoirse Ronan’s interview with Terry Gross on yesterday’s Fresh Air episode and it was really great (like always, her stuff is amazing every time). If anyone wants to take a listen and learn a bit more about the movie, the behind-the-scenes thought processes of the director (Crowley) and lead actress (Ronan), and the book from which it was adapted:

  9. I am definitely going to see Brooklyn!! I do hope they show it where I live. The trailer was very interesting, and now I’m going to look for the book :)

  10. Lydia says...

    I love watching these!

    Joanna I think You meant chilly Tuesday. ? It was a long day tho, I get it. Xo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      SO RIGHT. i will now put myself to bed.

  11. Sarah says...

    Fun to see! FYI it’s Tuesday, not Weds ?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my goodness you’re so right. i guess i’m wishing for the weekend!

  12. Lisa says...

    Where can we see these? Other than Brooklyn, are they on Netflix? Thanks! They all look great.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i think some are on netflix, and you can also watch most on amazon prime. thanks!

  13. I really like this series from the NYT>

    I was listening to Nick Hornby’s interview on NPR about the movie Brooklyn, he happens to be the writer. I really recommend the interview. He did this movie with his wife and it was quite the journey. This movie is in my to watch list.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s awesome! i’m going to look up the interview. nick hornby is so great — i love his writing. my favorite book of his — more than About a Girl or High Fidelity, etc. — is this sort of random one called The Polysyllabic Spree. he writes about books that he reads, and the chapters are about so much more than the books, but also about life, friends, hopes, fears… it’s so, so good.

  14. Kaitlin says...

    I just saw Brooklyn and it is worth every penny to go see it in theaters. The acting, score, and storyline are all so beautiful. The movie perfectly captures the quiet loneliness of an immigrant’s attempt to start over in a new country. It is a movie you can watch with anyone because, for once, the focus is on the story and the emotions, not on profane language or sex. A really beautiful treat.

  15. Brandi Rios says...

    I just watched ‘whiplash’ last night, it was one of the movies I forgot I was actually watching, loved it!

    • Oooo I loved ‘Whiplash’ too! It was pretty intense though.

  16. Joanna, I absolutely love your suggestions! And just wanted to pay the favor forward if you’re looking for a good new podcast, I have two movie-related suggestions: 1) NPR’s The Treatment. It’s host Elvis Mitchell is one of LA’s most insightful critics. He ALWAYS surprises his guests with such depth of questions. Plus he has a soothing voice and makes adorable jokes. 2) You Must Remember This, by Karina Longworth. Especially the stories about the female actors and starlets from the 30s and 40s. Such crazy drama, hard to believe it’s real!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you for these recommendations!! i really appreciate it.

  17. I’m obsessed with ‘Anatomy of a Scene’! I highly recommend checking out the one for ‘Room’. (Just finished re-reading the book before watching the movie!) I’m planning on seeing it this weekend.
    I am so glad you’re enjoying ‘Brooklyn’. I raced through it in the summer and now I’m reading the author’s short stories, ‘Mothers and Sons’.


    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, so fascinating how he talks about directing children — just to tell them the basics. really interesting to think about how much goes into making even one short scene.

      do you like Mothers and Sons?

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the Anatomy of a Scene for ‘Room’. I still haven’t seen the movie. I think it’s in wide release now. Highly recommend reading the book before watching the movie.:)
      Honestly, ‘Mothers and Sons’ is a slow read for me. I like to take my time with short stories, but enjoying it so far.
      If you’re interested in a great short story collection, check out ‘Stay Up With Me’ by Tom Barbash! I just picked it up from the library and I think it will be right up your alley. He’s got some serious talent!

  18. I saw Brooklyn a few weeks ago at a pre-screening, and I liked it, but it was a little slow for me! The talent is undeniable, but I feel like I needed some more sex scenes or something to keep the action going… Maybe I’ve seen too many bad movies lately that I won’t know a good movie when I see one.

  19. Very cool! I had a friend who used to watch the director’s commentary on DVDs…I did it once and actually really liked it!

    The trailer for Brooklyn looked so sappy…but I’m intrigued now to hear that it got such good ratings!

  20. Awads says...

    one day i hope to see a movie in an actual theater, while it’s still in wide release. *sigh* we just watched E.T. (at home) with our 8 year old son. Totally still holds up. We were all a little teary by the end, and so happy, too.

  21. Lisa says...

    I just watched the documentary “Amy” about Amy Winehouse and can’t stop thinking about it. A complex, sad story about such a talented woman.

  22. Mary Jenkins says...

    laughed out loud at While We’re Young. these are great!

  23. Interesting videos!
    Brooklyn seems really good indeed. I’ll wait for it to be released in Paris to go see it but might read the book first…
    Thanks Joanna for the recommendation.
    Good Will Hunting is one of my favorites also.
    Have a good day.