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INTERVIEW – ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Editor Affonso Gonçalves

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Olivia Wilde’s new film, Don’t Worry Darling, premiered last week to a strong showing with $19 million in the box office. Of course, some of the behind-the-scenes news probably attracted more viewers to the theater, proving the theory that all publicity is good publicity.

Brazilian-American Film Editor Affonso Gonçalves was the third editor to be brought onto the film, joining the process after the film completed shooting. It undoubtedly wasn’t an easy task to get involved so late in production, but Gonçalves, who was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for his work on True Detective, delivered.

We had the opportunity to speak with Gonçalves about how he got started in the business, what it was like to work on the film, and his process of working closely with Wilde to complete the film.

This interview was edited for clarity and conciseness. Watch Don’t Worry Darling in theaters now!

Affonso Gonçalves
Affonso Gonçalves

JORGIE: My first question for you is – how did you get into film editing and eventually onto this film? 

AFFONSO GONÇALVES: I got into film editing – I went to film school. I went first to film school in England. I was there for a couple of years in that film school. Basically, you learn like everything from writing scripts to directing to building sets. And then, while I was at the film school in England, I fell in love with editing, and I was like, “this is what I want to do.” And then I applied for a film school here in LA,  it was called the American Film Institute. And there you have to choose what you want to do. So for two years, I chose editing.

For two years, that’s all I did. I just edited. And then from that point on, I moved to New York, I start cutting in New York, and and that was that. So that’s basically how my career started. And I’m originally from Brazil, so it was Brazil, England, LA, and now I’m back in LA. But with Olivia [Wilde], they had started with an editor and then the editor couldn’t finish the film. And then there was a second editor. They also couldn’t finish the film. And then I came in and then I finished the film with Olivia. I interviewed with her, she sent me the film. I really loved that and I really like her ideas. And then we started from there. 

JORGIE: That’s awesome. Since you were the third editor of the project, were they completely done filming at the point? Do editors typically come on at the very end? 

AFFONSO GONÇALVES: They were already yes, they were already done filming at that point. Usually what happens is, I mean, it varies. My experience is, I come in when they start shooting. So the moment they start shooting, I start editing. So they keep coming in like on the third [day] or a few days later because then I’m cutting as they’re shooting and I kind of like try to keep up, and once they’re done shooting, they can wait a week or maybe a couple of weeks and then come in and we could start together. This one was different because the whole film was shot and it was already edited. But when I came in would just change…like there are things that you want to put it back that were cut out and to change the order of events and to experiment. And that’s what I did with [director Olivia Wilde]. 

JORGIE: Awesome. Speaking of working with directors like Olivia Wilde, how does your personal editing process differ with different creatives? 

AFFONSO GONÇALVES: As an editor, you have to be sort of a chameleon and adapt to them. You know, I always ask, “how do you like to work?” And with Olivia it was great because I prefer to have the director with me, and she was with me most of the time. And we had long conversations. We tried. She has ideas. She was very open. She was a great collaborator – open to to hearing my ideas and what I had to say. But the answer is, you kind of adjust and adapt to whoever you working with. 

JORGIE: What was the most challenging aspect about editing the movie? 

AFFONSO GONÇALVES: I think the most challenging aspect is, it’s a movie that keeps the information…sort of like, how much information do you give? When do you give it and are you giving you enough information or you’re not giving enough? Are you just presenting too soon and people know exactly what’s happening or they get to the end and are like, “What? I don’t know what happened at all.” They were not prepared for it. So it’s really the balance of the “too much” and “not enough.” It’s always something that you have to kind of play with. You have to be like always managing to be sure you got the right idea across. 

JORGIE: Does it feel like a heavy weight sometimes because there’s all that pressure on you? Or is it better because you had Olivia with you to give feedback? 

AFFONSO GONÇALVES: Yeah. I mean, it’s great to have because with Olivia there, we’re building together. It’s always great. I mean, I love editing, so I never feel a heavy weight in that sense. I mean, there are times where they’re challenging and I can be like, “I don’t know how to do this,” but you just keep trying until you find it. Because you have somebody like Olivia with you, then you feel there’s definitely a level of comfort that, building like this, it’s going to be okay. We will find out together. We will get there together. 

JORGIE: What was your favorite part of editing this film? 

AFFONSO GONÇALVES: Just rebuilding the world a little bit with her. Like trying different things and learning. It’s different when you work with a director who’s also an actor, who’s also in the film. I never worked with anybody before that was actually acting in the film that they directed, so it was it was fun finding that aspect of it. And how do you deal with directors that are also performers in the film, that’s that’s always fun to me because I’m learning. It’s a learning thing for me. 

JORGIE: Awesome. Thank you so much for your time. Congratulations on the film!

AFFONSO GONÇALVES: Thank you so much.

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Jorgie is a pop culture fan and contributor at POCculture.com. He loves learning about visual effects, production, film, and art, and how they all come together to make films like Star Wars.

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