Alejandro G. Inarritu's black comedy "Birdman" plunges viewers into the not-entirely-earthbound world of Riggan Thomson, a washed-up former superhero actor played by Michael Keaton who's trying to get his mojo back by mounting a Broadway play.
Along the way, the film blurs the lines between reality and fiction — playing off Keaton's own "Batman" past, for example, or disguising any visible edits — and also explodes them with fantastical imagery and seamless, sometimes disorienting leaps in time.
In an exclusive video, which you can watch above, Inarritu and his cast discuss how they brought "Birdman" to life.
"I wanted the audience to be navigating the labyrinth of what [Riggan] is going through," Inarritu says of the film, which he calls his most challenging project.
Because he employed long takes and couldn't rely on the safety net of cutting, Inarritu had to be precise in staging the film, and his actors had to nail their marks.
"Everything was absolutely meticulously prepared," the director says. "Every step, every word, every camera move, every single thing, we had to really rehearse." At the same time, he adds, "I try to be truthful and honest with the performances and the emotions and the things that are happening."
Check out the video for more from Inarritu, Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone and others.