Filed in: Contender Portfolios, Direction, Editing, Featured, Film

Contender: Editors Monica Salazar & Dominic LaPerriere Honey Boy

December 30, 2019 | By

When Shia LaBeouf wrote the screenplay Honey Boy, he based it on his childhood and the relationship with his own father.

Honey Boy follows 12-year-old Otis (Noah Jupe) during his rise as a child TV star dealing with the abusive relationship with his father, played by Shia LaBeouf, as the pain carries on for a span of 10 years through adult Otis (Lucas Hedges). The film evolved from the original script with varying perspectives from director Alma Har’el and editors Monica Salazar and Dominic LaPerriere.

Noah Jupe and Shia LaBeouf in Honey Boy Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Noah Jupe and Shia LaBeouf in Honey Boy, Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Honey Boy featured two editors in the post-production process.

Salazar explained, “The interesting thing was that I started the movie during dailies and director’s cut. By the time that Dominic came along, we were figuring out the back and forth and trying to get the cut ready for our submission. It was a constant conversation of trying things and putting them together with different structures until they started feeling right. We would both work on each other’s work just to make it stronger. It was a super collaborative experience.”

Lucas Hedges in Honey Boy, Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Lucas Hedges in Honey Boy, Courtesy of Amazon Studios

The final edited version of Honey Boy is structurally different than the screenplay.

“It was written to be linear, the way that everything in the childhood stories happen first and then the adult stories. The two were separate structures in the script. What happened is that we just changed the structure, that was the big change in the edit room. Things change because of the nature; but the heart, the intent, and the feeling were still there,” the editor expanded.

Shia LaBeouf in Honey Boy, Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Shia LaBeouf in Honey Boy, Courtesy of Amazon Studios

The editing bounced back and forth between young Otis and adult Otis as the pacing accelerated.

The editor shared, “When we interrupt the young Otis story with the adult Otis story, the pacing as the story’s advancing, the amount of time that we spend with each one of them starts shortening to the point that it interweaves towards the end. The screaming in the woods intercut with young Otis in the junkyard going through the cars was the moment in the movie where the story is intercut and when these two storylines become one.”

The point of view focuses on the perspective of the adult Otis.

Salazar continued, “It’s the idea of looking back at your experiences, pain, and the healing behind that. I would consider it as the point of view from adult Otis. Alma does something really magical with the story that makes the audience be there. There’s something very special about the role that us as an audience play, we play while living with this character in that hotel.”

“If we were all agreeing in the edit room, then not all of us needed to be there. It would just be about figuring out what felt real. There was a moment when the movie was telling us what it wanted and what the point of view needed to be. We all come from very different backgrounds. It was a very diverse room and that brought really good different story perspectives.”

Honey Boy transformed structurally from the true-life screenplay from Shia LaBeouf to production and production to post-production from a linear modality to a non-linear intercut shift, while still encapsulating the very essence and truth of the story.

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