We’ll cash in and tell you that “The Big Short” is one of the best films of any year. Based on the best-selling book by Michael Lewis, “The Big Short” details the true story of four outsiders who risked everything to take on the big banks during the greatest financial fraud in U.S. history. Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt deliver career-best performances in what “The New York Times” summed up in one word: “brilliant!”
The long and short of “The Big Short”? It was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing, The film was also named one of the top 10 films of the year by several important sources, including “The Wall Street Journal”, “The New York Times”, “Los Angeles Times”, “Entertainment Weekly” and the American Film Institute.
The film arrives today on Blu-ray Combo Pack with Digital HD, and Paramount Home Media Distribution deposited more than an hour of bonus content. Go behind the scenes with Gosling, Carell and Bale as they talk about their characters and the real people in this unbelievable true story, then discover the facts behind the gripping events as author Michael Lewis and the filmmakers discuss how the most incredible heist of the century was pulled off. Plus, catch five deleted scenes that were not shown in theaters and hear director Adam McKay reveal the challenges he faced in bringing the book to the screen.
Make a note: The film’s editor, Hank Corwin, gave each of the key characters his own “editorial signature” reflecting his psychological state. Let’s look at Christian Bale’s money manager Michael Burry. As Corwin explains: “I used a dark subterranean editing.” For Steve Carell’s character Mark Baum, the editing “was very aggressive, and the cutting was deliberately disturbing.” Those editing styles were reflected in the movie’s sound as well, Corwin explains: “Bale’s character was very internal. So the sound around him was very quiet, until he was being bombarded by the world. With Carell, we deliberately made the street sounds and traffic sound harsh.”
Make a second note: Our fave character is real-life Dr. Michael Burry, a hedge fund manager who relaxes and blows off steams by playing drums. That means Christian Bale needed to learn how to play drums; enter drum teacher Scott Wittenburg, so impressive he can play a solo while eating a burrito. Wittenberg has been teaching the heavy metal class at the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood for nearly a decade; as he remembers it: “Paramount Pictures called the school, asking if the school’s manager if he had any guys he could refer. I guess based off my metal background and teaching the metal class I was the guy.”
How involved was Bale? “Christian came in and explained the character to me, but when we first started the lessons he hadn’t even met Michael yet,” Wittenberg says. “Maybe halfway through the lessons he went up to San Jose and hung out with him for a weekend. Christian seemed to have a pretty good grasp on how he wanted to do the whole thing. He’s what they call a method actor, so he makes sure he’s immersed in the role. And I have to say this for him: Of all the students I’ve taught, he was certainly not the best drummer, but one of my best students. I gave him ‘homework’ and he would come back doing it like he had been doing it for a long time. It was obvious he had put his hours in.”
We’ll end with a cymbal clash. As we said, “The Big Short” is brilliant.