‘Going All the Way’ Interview with Mark Pellington: Directorial Debut, Redux
An acclaimed music video director, a cast on the cusp of stardom, and a feature film debut realizing its full potential in a radically reimagined edit.
In 1997, Mark Pellington made his directorial debut with Going All the Way, based on Dan Wakefield’s novel of the same name. The film tells the story of two Korean War veterans returning to their hometown of Indianapolis in the 1950s and featured an impressive cast of then-unknowns – including Ben Affleck, Jeremy Davies, Rachel Weisz, Rose McGowan and Nick Offerman. The film screened at Sundance, received solid reviews and a distribution deal…then disappeared for 25 years. While Pellington is proud of the film, he never felt like he really captured what he loved about Wakefield’s book and the various edits the film went through – from a 3+ hour rough cut through the 112- minute Sundance version to the 97-minute film that finally hit the theaters – left him feeling like he’d disheartened the story.
Decades later, while rummaging around his office during the COVID lockdown, Pellington made an exciting discovery. “I found an old Betacam tape,” Pellington told IndieWire. “It was three and a half hours long and included everything my editor Leo Trombetta put together when we got back from filming in Indianapolis.” Pellington and Trombetta looked at the footage and decided to create a new edit to reflect themselves during the pandemic too busy. After digitizing the Betacam footage, they took out about 20 minutes of footage and added 50 minutes of editing, drastically reinventing “Going All the Way” while reconnecting the film with the spirit of its source material.
“We just did it for fun,” Pellington said, but then he realized that Village Roadshow, with whom he was developing television series based on his films Arlington Road and The Mothman Prophecies, was “going all the way.” “ belonged. as part of their acquisition of the Lakeshore Pictures library. “I said, ‘You know, you have an unseen Ben Affleck movie that never came out on cable, streamed, or TV.'” Seeing the financial benefits of re-launching such a movie, Lakeshore brought in Oscilloscope Laboratories as the Partners on board to manufacture the restoration and reconstruction. Pellington originally thought he could create a new version simply by up-rezzing the Betacam and color correcting it, but “it looked horrible,” and the detective work of putting the original film elements together began.
“It was like an archaeological dig,” Pellington said. Working with Edge numbers on the Betacam and a VHS copy of the Sundance cut, Pellington began working with Fotokem to try to locate the negatives for the appropriate scenes, then hired editor and videographer Joe D’Augustin to to search the stacks of footage, digging up what was needed. Some scenes only existed in a workprint, others as an original negative, but ultimately Pellington and his collaborators were able to find what they needed, scan it in 4K, and color grade it to mostly smooth out the inconsistencies. A suicide scene that wasn’t in the theatrical version but is incorporated into the new version was from a workprint, so in Pellington’s words it “really sucked”, but the raw quality actually works emotionally for the film – like everything else Changes that effectively make Going All the Way a completely different film than the one audiences saw in 1997.
The end result is not only more faithful to the novel, but a richer, more complex, and more powerful film – a coming-of-age film by a young man reimagined by a middle-aged director who brings his whole life and knowledge of filmmaking to bear . “I’d only done commercials and music videos, so I felt good about every single scene, but I would put a satirical scene next to something more real with a wide-angle lens, and it felt uneven,” Pellington said. “Years went by and I saw movies like ‘American Beauty’ and other things that made me realize how I might mix those tones now that I had a little more experience.”
One way the new Director’s Edit adds coherence to the audio is through voiceover narration, spoken by Trombetta, that includes more of Wakefield’s lyrics. “Leo edited Todd Field’s film ‘Little Children,’ and I loved the voiceover in it,” Pellington said. “I felt like I could finally capture the feeling of this book, that I loved growing up in a way that no other version of the film really had.” Pellington also brought in his frequent collaborator Pete Adams to help almost one Spent an hour composing a new score, and replaced the original opening titles with a sequence by Sergio Pinheiro that lends the film a haunting, seductive tone — another one that matches the shift from the original version’s emphasis on teenage sex comedy to a darker one , more dramatic but ultimately more uplifting and touching film that Pellington has now created.
The film is also a fascinating time capsule of a moment when its stars were on the verge of breakthrough. “Looking at it now, I remember what made me love her in the first place,” Pellington said. With Oscilloscope releasing the film in theaters nationwide and planning a deluxe Blu-ray/DVD release, audiences will also have a chance to be reminded. After two years of hard work on the project, Pellington is grateful and moved by the opportunity to revisit his early work. “No filmmaker gets a chance like that,” he concluded. “I’m just super proud that we made it.”
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https://www.indiewire.com/2022/11/going-all-the-way-mark-pellington-interview-1234781495/ ‘Going All the Way’ Interview with Mark Pellington: Directorial Debut, Redux