In a career retrospective interview with Vanity Fair tied to the release of Mary Nighy’s psychological thriller “Alice, Darling,” Kendrick recalls Wright subjecting her to multiple takes because she kept blinking. The scene in question is her character’s crash zoom reaction to Mary Elizabeth Winstead saying, “Tell your gay friends I said ‘bye.'” Wright cuts from a two-shot of the actors to a close-up of Kendrick that suddenly gets a lot closer as she sees Culkin making out with her date.
As Kendrick told VF, “We had to do that crash zoom so many times because Edgar’s so hyper-specific, he doesn’t even let you blink.” Never? “There would be specific times where he was like, ‘Oh, a perfectly timed blink here would be okay,'” said Kendrick. “This was very generous of him.”
“He wanted me to turn, react, then the crash zoom happens, then I say the line or something like that. Bill Pope, the cinematographer, ended up taking over operating the camera and the crash zoom, and I could see, like, every time we would kind of overcompensate for the other where we had, like, missed the moment perfectly. It just took forever.”
While Wright has changed up his aesthetic (as evidenced by his hauntingly beautiful “Last Night in Soho,” which largely unfolds in gorgeously choreographed long takes), Kendrick now observes a strict crash-zoom policy. “To this day… I do my own crash zooms,” she said. “So the joke is that if you need to do a crash zoom, I’ll just get myself really close to the camera.” How’s this working for her? “People don’t like that.”