Bryan Singer And Tom Cruise Reduced The Valkyrie Editor To Tears

Tom Cruise in Valkyrie

Watching movies can certainly be an emotional experience, but so can making them. When people pour their heart and soul into their job it can be emotionally taxing. Sometimes, however, your co-workers just drive you to break down. That's apparently what happened to John Ottman, the editor on the Tom Cruise World War II drama Valkyrie. Apparently, the star would come in and work with Ottman in the editing room, then writer Christopher McQuarrie would come and make changes to what Cruise had done, which would then be followed by director Bryan Singer making more changes. Eventually the constant changes would cause Ottman to break into actual tears in frustration. According to the editor...

I would always stay with a table full of chess pieces, but I’m barely moving them. Chris would see what Tom had done, and he would make a couple little tweaks to what Tom had done, and then after a while, Bryan [Singer] would come in to see what Tom and Chris has asked him to do, and he’d put things back. So they would come back and sensed that he had put things back. I remember sitting and weeping. Literally, I would cry because I couldn’t finish because it got to the point where the changes I was making were not really making any difference one way or the other, and we were sort of a rudderless ship going in circles.

It seems that on the set of Valkyrie there were simply too many cooks in the kitchen. John Ottman was the film's editor, but he was getting multiple voices telling him how to go about editing the film. That would have been fine if all those other voices had been in agreement, but clearly they didn't all have the same vision for the project.

It's pretty standard for a film's director to be closely involved in the editing phase of a film, however, it seems that Bryan Singer didn't have complete control during Valkyrie. According to Deadline, Singer was mostly "off elsewhere" during editing. Whether he was working on other projects or simply "done" with the movie is not clear. Ottman says Singer would still show up on occasion, mostly to undo everything that Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie had done with him in the editing bay. Then the cycle would repeat. How would you not break down in tears at that point?

John Ottman worked with Bryan Singer again on the film the troubled director would start but would not finish, Bohemian Rhapsody. Singer was fired from the production and the film was completed by Dexter Fletcher. Ottman has been nominated for his first Academy Award for editing the movie

The fact that Bohemian Rhapsody was shot by two different directors likely made the editing of the movie especially challenging. All the more reason that success should be rewarded.

If Ottman wins the Oscar, you'll get to see it happen live, as the decision to award that category, and three others, during commercial breaks, has been reversed by the Academy.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.