Destin Daniel Cretton is known for his work writing and directing his second feature film, Short Term 12, starring Brie Larson. Since then he has been busy. Destin teamed up with Ryan Coogler and Chinaka Hodge to develop a TV series titled Minors, which focuses on institutionalization of youth and examining the system in which we put our juvenile delinquents in. Showing a penchant for tough subject matter, Destin Daniel Cretton’s current film The Glass Castle focuses on Jeannette Walls’ unconventional and poverty stricken upbringing.
Screen Rant got a chance to sit down with Destin on press day, where we discussed how involved Jeannette Walls was in production, what other stories they wanted to include from the book that didn’t make it on screen, and what it was like working with the kid actors.
How involved was Jeannette? Was she on set with you guys every day for the process of this film?
Destin Daniel Cretton: It felt like she was because she was so involved with discussions that all of the department heads were having to fill in all those details. So our production designer, Sharon Seymour, became quite good friends with her. She was coming up with these beautifully written emails from Jeannette Walls describing certain things, details that we could put in the script and into the script. And she was doing that with all of the department heads and her fingerprints are everywhere.
Was there any other stories that you wanted to pull from the book that did not make it onto the screen?
Destin Daniel Cretton: There’s a lot of stories in the book that were some of my favorite stories in the book that were not able to make it to the screen.
Can you share one of those?
Destin Daniel Cretton: Yeah, but have you read the book?
I have it.
Destin Daniel Cretton: So there is a scene called the Battle of Little Hobart Street that was one of my favorite things. It was when young Jeannette and it was her and her brother Bryan, there were these bullies in town and in order to get back with them, they basically hid up in the bushes with all of these rocks. And as these kids came by with their bikes, they started pelting them with the rocks. It made me feel like I was a kid again, but… [laughs]
Yeah. Right. Speaking of kids, these kids in the film did an amazing job. How was it? Because it wasn’t even like watching kids at that point, it was like I was watching real life. How was it directing those young actors?
Destin Daniel Cretton: I honestly owe, I mean, one the kids themselves are amazing. They are kids, so a lot of the time we were shooting with them, it felt like summer camp. They are just so much fun and helped to create that spirit on set. Ella Anderson, who played eleven year old Jeannette, will if you have a conversation with her, she’ll blow your mind with how smart and eloquent she is. But she is also still an eleven year old kid. But I do owe a lot of those performances to Woody and the older actors. They have this ability to connect with these kids in a way that makes them forget about the camera and forget that they are acting and a lot of those authentic moments were a result of Woody connecting with them.
I mean, that’s a huge part of this too because this was a great cast and Woody put his heart and soul into this. You can totally see it on screen. Same with Brie. One thing that I noticed was the editing in this movie was brilliant. I love the cuts. How involved were you in that process? Because the way that the story played out, it was brilliantly cut. It was the first time I noticed something like that.
Destin Daniel Cretton: Yeah. Cool. I’ll tell Nat. He’ll be stoked. Yeah. Nat and our additional editor, Joi McMillon, together they cut Moonlight and they came onto this right afterwards. But they, Nat was there every day while we were shooting and cutting while we were shooting and I would be able to see stuff and get feedback from him on how we could shoot things differently. So it was a very interactive, collaborative process.
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