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Interview: Editor Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir on ‘Bullet Train’ and its Amazing Action Sequences

Sony Pictures

Bullet Train, starring Brad Pitt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Bad Bunny hit theaters this past Friday and earned the number one spot at the box office over the weekend, alongside positive reviews like this one here from our editor Joey. The movie was full of thrilling action sequences, from inside the titular train, to exciting and fast-paced hand-to-hand combat.

Awards Radar had the opportunity to speak with the film’s editor, Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir, who explained why the backstory for The Wolf (Bad Bunny) was her favorite flashback in the film:

“It is my favorite one because it’s his whole life up to the point where he meets Ladybug (Pitt) on the train. I think that is so beautifully done. Beautifully shot. Everything is beautiful about it, and it was the longest flashback in the movie.”

Ronaldsdóttir is referring to the sequence where The Wolf’s backstory was explained. She managed to transmit this story of love, loss and revenge in such a short amount of time, showcasing her ability to establish strong feelings and ideas in a quick manner while keeping the story organic.

While discussing which transition from Bullet Train was the most difficult to edit, she responded the following:

“Probably in the third act. It was a difficult transition to go from everything that’s happening before they end up in Kyoto. That was the most difficult transition, getting them from the train to Kyoto. Specially because it was a very CGI heavy sequence. We had a lot of help from visual effects, who were an amazing team, with Michael Brazelton, who is our special effects producer.

We also played a lot with the transition when Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is telling the story of the White Death because he’s telling a tale. It worked well cutting back to him (Tangerine) because he’s telling the story.”

Regarding her next project, the editor expressed enthusiasm when talking about David Leitch‘s The Fall Guy, starring Ryan Gosling:

“In October, I’m going with David Leitch and his team to shoot The Fall Guy in Australia. I’m super excited because me and David have been working together for nine years. Ever since the first John Wick, and then Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2 and now Bullet Train. I’m so happy to be with this team, it’s almost like a film family now.”

Ronaldsdóttir also spoke about the way she portrayed flashbacks during Bullet Train, expressing why she opted for keeping the story focused on the character narrating rather than the flashback itself:

“They’re memories. Almost like a nod to the audience, giving them a glimpse to a memory. Whether it’s Bolivia or South Africa, they’re meant to be glimpses.”

The editor referred to the flashback sequences detailing the backstory of Lemon (Bryan Tyree Henry) and Tangerine. Instead of showing the full story of their crimes, there are only a couple of shots set in the past before coming back to the present, effectively turning the tale more mysterious.
And that can be applied to the storytelling presented in the film, where flashbacks are vital for the plot, but they are only shown in small measures.

Bullet Train is now playing in theaters.

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Written by Diego Peralta

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