The first scene of a movie is often its defining moment: In subtle and large ways it lets the audience know where they are, where they’re going — and often, what to expect along the way. But deciding on that first major statement can be a challenge; sometimes, a main character dancing to “Thriller” in the bathroom mirror is the wrong choice.
Here, directors and editors from nine awards-season contenders share why they began their films as they did – and what alternate openings were abandoned along the way.
Tom Cross (editor, “La La Land”)
First scene: Amid an all-too-familiar massive L.A. freeway backup, a musical number breaks out and...