Maryann Brandon grew up in New York loving film. She spent many happy days watching three films in a row. Her first editing job was in 1984 for The Cotton Club. A frequent collaborator with J.J. Abrams, she worked on the TV show Alias and then alongside Abrams again in Mission: Impossible III and Star Trek. She has edited animated films like How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda 2. More recently Brandon edited Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Brandon and I sat down in Culver City recently to talk about her latest editing job, Passengers. The film was still being fine-tuned at the time of our conversation.
Passengers is Morten Tyldum’s first foray into sci-fi. “I kept feeding him possibilities,” she says. “Morten always kept a very clear vision of the human story he wanted to tell.”
Aside from Passengers, Brandon talks about the larger issue of women editors in the film industry today. “The director process for a lot of these films is so intense, and it’s a different dynamic, and it takes a certain type of director… A lot of men aren’t comfortable with women in authoritative positions.” Long days in the editing room are another reason she cites as a possible reason for the shortage of female editors in the industry. “The hours are long and it’s hard on your family,” Brandon says, explaining that her own children often come into the editing room with her.
Take a listen to Brandon talk about her start in film editing, Passengers, and women in film editing.
Passengers is released on December 21