Graphic of a two-headed lizard from eXistenZ

Transcript: A History of Violence: Opening Scene

PETER SUSCHITZKY It starts with a shot which a lot of people admire, and I certainly enjoyed carrying it out: a daylight shot, which moves with the characters in front of a motel. We spent a long time planning that shot, it was something we did have to think about carefully. We had simple equipment: I’m not telling you the story from the inside, but I’m telling you about it technically. We had a crane that was non-retractable, and it had to move in an arc, so we had to work out whether it would fit into the space and so on. I know that doesn’t tell you how it moves from an everyday world, to a more threatening world at the end, but I think the opening of the film has a sense of the end of the film as well, because it has a foreboding feel to it.

HOWARD SHORE In the case of A History of Violence, I wrote a piece for the beginning of the film. And usually what David does is I’ll do the recordings, and he mixes them into the film, and I’ll come and have a look at it. And I watched the film with all of the music in it, and I said to him when the lights came up, “take out the first piece of music. You don’t need that. It’s better to let the audience develop their own ideas about the beginning of the film”. It was giving away too much, putting time and place too much on it. But I don’t really like to do that, so I convinced him to take that piece out. So, I mean, silence is incredibly important. The way we’ve made movies is not to give away too much. And of course, at the beginning of the film, you really don’t want to do that.

MICHAEL O’FARRELL My trial by fire was the beginning of History of Violence. Where there’s actually a music cue that started off A History of Violence. And we were in final, and he and Howard came in, and they were discussing in the corner, and they said “yeah, we’re gonna take out the music a bit”. So for me, I had never thought about that sequence really being without music. So all of a sudden it turned into “oh right, what am I gonna do here to make something interesting?” Which is great, so it turned into a big insect meltdown with cicadas going crazy, and trying to get that tension in that scene without music, which I think really worked. But the car itself was a sticky point, where it was definitely something that he really wanted to hear, that killer car in a certain way. And it took a while to get that scene right. And it’s quite nice I think, now.


BILLY: So we keep heading east?

LELAND: Yeah, that’s the idea.

BILLY: Stay out of big cities?

LELAND: Uh huh.

BILLY: I think I’m tired.

LELAND: Yeah, me too. Here, bring it on up to the office. I'm gonna go check us out.

BILLY: Alright.