‘That scary tower!’

“Fall” follows two young women who decide to scale an incredibly tall metal tower in the remote California desert. — Photo via Facebook

Sunday August 14, 2022 05:35 MYT

NEW YORK, August 14 – When you’re hanging from a tower 2,000 feet above the desert floor at your fingertips, it can be hard not to drop a few F-bombs – even if you’re a Hollywood actor in the process to shoot a PG-Film rated 13.

Fortunately, new editing technology has come to the rescue of the “potty-mouthed” stars of To fallreleased in US theaters on Friday, which follows two young women who decide to scale an incredibly tall metal tower in the remote California desert.

This being a movie, the adventure doesn’t go as planned, leaving Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) and Hunter (Virginia Gardner) stranded on a tiny platform where vertigo is just one of the terrifying challenges they must overcome.

“I’m talking about the strongest winds I’ve ever experienced,” Currey told AFP, of the grueling shoot.

“Gini (Gardner) and I are just hanging on to this pole, sitting there, rocking, looking at each other, and it’s making noise.

“We had a moment, ‘what did we get ourselves into? Also, are these our last hours? Are we going to do it? “” “There was definitely swearing in the environment and in the air.” Although the film was not shot in the real B67 television tower, which is twice the height of the Eiffel Tower, the actors still had to act on a terrifying setting: an 18-meter tower perched on top of a steep cliff in the Mojave Desert.

Using clever angles to avoid showing the mountain, British director Scott Mann was able to retain a realistic feel for the indy thriller with the low budget of US$3 million (RM13.3 million).

But when major Hollywood studio Lionsgate agreed to distribute the film, there was a problem.

The actors swore throughout, using language that could trigger a restricted “R” rating that could dampen box office receipts.

“Potty mouths Virginia and Grace, that’s what I would say!” joked Mann, in an interview with AFP via Zoom.

“I don’t blame Gini and Grace – because let’s be honest, from the top of this ridiculous structure, thousands of feet up, asking to improvise scenes, it’s totally justified for them to say that.” “Certainly my fault!” he admitted.

“Language of the Mouth”

While a giant summer superhero movie can usually redo some scenes, the budget on To fall didn’t allow it, and the filmmakers were reluctant to edit the dialogue.

Instead, they came up with a creative solution: nascent technology, primarily invented for foreign-language dubbing, allowing them to seamlessly transition to a more family-friendly sound.

It maps actors’ faces, learning their specific mouth movements, before manipulating those movements with 3D computer effects to sync them with new dialogue.

“What the technology enabled was rather than having to rebuild the tower and walk back up the mountain, just to go to a sound studio,” said Mann, who co-founded a startup working on the technology. .

“We rewrote those little moments, just to bypass some of that mouth language, and then basically inject it into the movie.” Although the tool has been called a “deepfake”, Mann said the label suggests more harmful uses such as pornography, when in reality it is more “hands off”. “It’s an interesting use, and I think it was a good fit,” he said.


Although it was released in mid-August – usually a low ratings period, when many weaker films are unceremoniously dropped by studios – To fall received very positive reviews.

The Guardian said the micro-budget film should embarrass other giant studios who throw “a hundred times more on blockbusters with a hundred times less thrill factor”, while vanity lounge dubbed it “a thrilling heat wave surprise”. For Currey, who did many of his own stunts, including hanging onto a falling ladder, making the film was “pretty wild, not like anything I’ve ever done before”. “And we didn’t know if we were going to be R or PG-13,” she added.

“As far as Gini and I knew, we could say whatever we wanted!” — Studio ETX

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