‘Birdman’ creators on rehearsing the labyrinth-like film

Michael Keaton and Emma Stone in “Birdman.”
(Alison Rosa / Fox Searchlight Pictures)

A few minutes into Alejandro G. Inarritu’s black comedy “Birdman,” it becomes apparent that the camera has yet to blink. Over the course of its two-hour running time, the film somehow maintains the high-wire act, never visibly cutting away until the climactic final moments.

Inarritu and his collaborators — including cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and star Michael Keaton — have remained tight-lipped about how exactly they pulled off the feat, but it’s clearly a combination of expert camera choreography and exhaustive rehearsals, with some digital polish applied.

A new video exclusive to the Los Angeles Times offers a glimpse into how the filmmakers conceived of the setting, which snakes around the stage, hallways and exterior of a Broadway theatre, and how the actors learned to inhabit it.

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“It was a very hard rehearsal process,” producer James W. Skotchdopole says. “We had to literally walk through every scene of the movie and know where [the actors] were going to stop and know where the doorway needed to be, so we actually built the set around the scenes.”

In the video, Keaton can be seen side-by-side in the rehearsal space, delineated by rows of hanging black cloth, and the finished set. Everything had to be “precision perfect,” the actor says.

Watch the video above for more.

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