[Editor’s word: The next accommodates spoilers for the “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” Episode 7, “Creator/Destroyer.”]
The penultimate episode of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” is sort of like a guidelines of all of the challenges a director would possibly face in crafting an episode of TV. For Matt Bomer, that’s precisely why it made for the proper directorial debut.
“We had two baby protagonists within the first couple acts of the episode, so that you’re already on baby hours. We’re in three completely different international locations, 5 completely different cities. Occasion scenes, buying and selling flooring scenes, a interval piece,” Bomer advised IndieWire. “I used to be so grateful to be thrown so many challenges my first time directing as a result of I used to be in a position to tick off so many packing containers of issues that I don’t have to fret about any extra. Half of it was simply getting it carried out and figuring out you are able to do it and do it on schedule.”
Identified for his work in entrance of the digicam, Bomer had different alternatives to direct earlier than however all the time needed to attend for the optimum probability to immerse himself in a venture. When “American Crime Story” turned a risk, Bomer devised his personal private movie faculty to get himself prepared to fulfill the problem.
“I used to be ready patiently within the wings. Ryan had reached out to me again in December  and requested me to direct. After I handed out and regained consciousness, I stated sure and actually spent 4 and a half months on this episode,” Bomer stated. “I learn over 3,000 pages of books on directing, I shadowed two completely different administrators on the present. I sat down with movie and tv administrators who’re pals of mine who had been keen to be mentors. I did an intensive on the DGA. I knew the extent of artistry that was [happening] on set and I needed to fulfill everybody on their stage.”
A part of Bomer’s signing up for “American Crime Story” was the prospect to completely decide to the duty. He was on set for a month of shoots whereas the present was filming different episodes within the season, affording him the prospect to know the total crew earlier than he began.
“I didn’t need that partial directorial expertise. I needed to essentially immerse myself and strategy it like all director would. I needed to be there for all of the scouts. I needed to be within the room for all of the casting. I needed to be in all of the design conferences. I didn’t need to simply lean on the director of images to get me by way of whereas I labored with actors,” Bomer stated.
For an episode that meant turning L.A. into areas as wide-ranging as San Diego and the Philippines, it was an funding that paid off down the highway.
“I needed to discover three completely different international locations inside a Los Angeles space,” Bomer stated. “We had an unbelievable manufacturing designer in Jamie Walker McCall. She labored her magic, notably what she did within the Baliuag shack. That ultimate confrontation between Andrew and his father is a setpiece we talked by way of that she constructed. I believe her work on that was super.”
The pivotal piece within the “Creator/Destroyer” puzzle is Jon Jon Briones, who performs Andrew Cunanan’s father Modesto, a person whose pathological drive to appease his son lays the groundwork for the remainder of the “Versace” saga that got here earlier than this. Briones’ popularity as a performer had preceded him on set, with “Versace” star Darren Criss and author Tom Rob Smith each praising his legendary, long-running work as The Engineer in “Miss Saigon.” By the audition and proper up by way of the primary day of capturing, Bomer knew they’d the proper man to play Modesto.
“We began with that move-out scene early on. He had this man and he knew this man. We had been additionally capturing this whereas he was in a Broadway present, so we needed to shoot all of his stuff out in six days straight after which he needed to fly again to New York,” Bomer stated. “That ultimate scene, that ‘Coronary heart of Darkness’/’Apocalypse Now’ confrontation on the finish of the episode, that was actually after I went, ‘OK, this man is sensational. He’s acquired this all mapped out and he is aware of how to do that.’”
Constructing a relationship with the 2 performers on the coronary heart of the episode was key. Regardless that Bomer didn’t are available in with a predetermined directorial model, he had the benefit of getting already seen what Criss was doing with Andrew Cunanan as a personality earlier than it got here time to point out how he acquired there.
“I had been witness to what Darren was doing on set and had been blown away by it from Day One. I knew how he appreciated to work. I believe an enormous a part of directing is if you’ve acquired one thing nice, get out of the best way. Simply set a superb body that tells the story proper, stage it proper,” Bomer stated. “I attempt to give the actors lots of details about what the scene’s about by how I stage it. There are additionally instances when it’s a three-page scene between two individuals and I’m going, ‘I’m not supplying you with something. Let’s rehearse till we get one thing that’s natural and true after which we’ll shoot that.’ So there’s no one-size-fits-all. You’re all the time coping with a special field of crayons, relying on which artist you’re working with in any given scene.”
That preparation meant that even the smaller moments within the episodes, ones on a a lot less complicated scale, had the chance to reap the benefits of everybody’s shorthand.
“Considered one of my favourite issues we did was that basically fast scene the place he places on the CD and he’s choosing out his massive reveal outfit for the celebration. It was a tiny little factor, however we had been simply vibing creatively with the digicam individuals, with Darren. The whole lot was coming collectively at that time. I believe we did it in a single take,” Bomer stated.
That sense of understanding got here from collaborating with people who Bomer had beforehand labored with on different Ryan Murphy tasks. These people had been a part of each step of the “Creator/Destroyer” course of, from the on-set crew to the stewards of the put up course of.
“I used to be so lucky as a result of if you’re working with Ryan Murphy, you’re working with the perfect individuals within the business. I’m not speaking about episodic. I’m speaking about within the business,” Bomer stated. “The digicam crew, the manufacturing designers. Simon Dennis, the director of images. Alexis [Martin] Woodall, what she does in post-production, the best way she tones these exhibits is phenomenal. My editor, Shelly Westerman, was a private hero of mine. She did ‘Velvet Goldmine’ and labored on so lots of the movies that had been actually central to my cinematic expertise as a younger man.”
That modifying course of shines within the boardroom scenes the place Modesto is basically pitching the American dream to his employers, each earlier than he’s employed and after his penny inventory scheme has been sniffed out.
“That is Sidney Lumet-esque model, the place these performers are all bringing their A-game. Shelly and I knew we needed these scenes to stay for a very long time, to not be this MTV, jump-cutting factor. Keep in masters longer and never chop and chop and chop to distract,” Bomer stated. “Notably in an episode like this, it’s so psychological, you wanted to have this creepy drifty really feel and stay in these moments which might be uncomfortable and horrific and scary. Particularly when you have got performers working at this stage.”
Bomer stated he’s again to being affected person about any future directing alternatives, however having this completed and launched to the world is step one in preserving these future choices open.
“It was all a studying course of, however I really feel like with something, self-discipline can provide you freedom. I used to be so overly ready as a result of I had the time and the posh to be overly ready. The primary couple days we completed a bit early and I used to be in a position to take some deep breaths,” Bomer stated. “I do know that there will probably be a time when I’m directing and I’m having to take care of some a lot harsher realities that you simply don’t need to take care of if you’re working for Ryan Murphy tv. One of the best factor this gave me was this sense that I can do it.”
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on FX.