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According to James Drew: Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
Producer James Drew describes the process behind this acclaimed film starring Joaquin Phoenix and Jonah Hill.

Most members of the film community will agree that their goal is twofold: to use their talents to convey a story which resonates with others and to also meet and work with professionals whom are universally admired and acclaimed. Producer James Drew achieved this goal with his work on the film Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot.

Directed by Gus Van Sant (multiple Oscar nominee), starring Joaquin Phoenix (multiple Oscar nominee) and Jonah Hill (multiple Oscar and BAFTA nominee), premiering at Sundance 2018, and nominated for Best Film and Best Feature Film at Berlin International Film Festival, Drew's work on this film gave him a well-deserved bump up in recognition among his peers. While the UK production industry holds prominence in the global community of artists, the inclusion of James in this film vets him as a prominent producer in the US and the world. As postproduction VFX producer, he guaranteed that the extra bits added by his team would augment and enhance Van Sant's master plan. 

Charles-Marie Anthonioz (Founder of Iconoclast Films) has worked with James on projects for Apple, Xfinity, Katy Perry, and numerous others. While in the very beginning stages of discussion with Van Sant about Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot, he brought the postproduction EP aboard to take part in discussions with the director. Even though their work takes place after filming, James advised Van Sant about what could be achieved by the VFX team as well as timetables and cost. If the director is the architect then James is the expert who lets him know how long it will take and whether it's possible or not.

He relates, "I first met Gus at a pre-production meeting in Hollywood to discuss his storyboards. We all (production, Amazon studio, VFX) sat around a big long table and read through the script. When we got to scenes that would require VFX, myself and Adam [Watson] would explain how to best approach these particular scenes. Gus and his Art Department would ask various questions about what to shoot, how to dress the set, etc.. After this, we did a tech recce around the various shoot locations in California, followed again by more questions from Gus and his team." No director wants to finish shooting an important scene only to hear that the augmentation in post will pull the believability out of it. James Drew ensured that this never happens via inclusion in the process from the beginning and delivering an accurate assessment.

The story of the film centers on John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix) who finds himself confined to a wheelchair following a near fatal accident. Channeling his energy into irreverent newspaper cartoons attracts a following for the tortured artist who spends his time chain smoking and navigating his new life course. A charismatic sponsor (Jonah Hill) and supportive girlfriend (Rooney Mara) attempt to assist Callahan in this tale based on true life. The VFX work on Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot is employed with a light touch, utilized in a variety of ways. Subtle facets like the "cleaning up" of the complexion for different actors or even an alteration of Jonah Hill's wig were implemented sparingly. James explains a particularly realistic and dramatic scene involving VFX revealing, "Joaquin's character [John] gets his wheelchair stuck on train tracks as a train approaches. He is dragged from his chair by a friend and the train smashes the chair on the tracks. This was not done with practical effects. We had the art department build a small bit of train track to shoot the talent on. We then shot the chair being pulled off the tracks by a rig. Next, we shot a plate of a train passing by at the same angle and then created a composite of all 3 plates together, adding in some effects like smoke and sparks."

The aspiration of every film is to connect with the audience on an emotional level, whether they're an Oscar nominated actor, acclaimed producer, or any other member of the cast and crew. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot certainly met this mark. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter wrote, "This unwieldy but consistently enjoyable portrait of paraplegic local hero John Callahan is notable for its generosity of spirit and gentleness" while Peter Debruge of Variety succinctly described the film as a, "life-affirming sweet-and-sour concoction."

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