While you were shooting the film, had you always planned on interchanging the past with the present instead of telling Cindy and Dean’s story chronologically?
12-years ago in 1998, I was first inspired by the structure of The Godfather part two; which is basically the rise of the father cross-cut with the fall of the son. I think cross-cuts parallel storytelling. It’s long been a valued tool to filmmakers, starting with basically D.W. Griffith in Tolerance on through Star Wars, Godfather. Countless movies use that back and forth aesthetic.
And you know, Blue Valentine to me was always about a duet. It was a duet between a man and woman, between their past and the present, between love and hate, between long-term memory and short-term memory, between film and video; it’s basically a film about dualities. I wanted to make a film that juxtaposed those dualities; that showed the magnet, the positive side and the negative side of a magnet at once, because those things exist in nature, the push and the pull, the head and tail of a coin is on one coin. It’s not two coins. I wanted to make a film that was that one thing, the duality of an experience.
I’ve read that there was some improvisation in the movie and I was wondering how much of the movie is improv versus what was in the script?
I had written 67 drafts of the script and I had storyboarded 1224 shots and I had written a manifesto and it was really for 12 years, every day I would close my eyes and watch the film in my mind.
When I got to production the first day, I was so nervous that the film was going to be stale. I think that you can over-think things sometimes. I think you can
I said, “I’ve been living with this thing for 12 years. I’ve been reading these words on the page for 12 years. Let’s throw the script away now, and lets make something that’s alive. Let’s capture some life.”