During the 1958 filming of Some Like It Hot, it took 59 attempts before Marilyn Monroe was able to say “where’s that bourbon?” in just the right way, or at least to director Billy Wilder‘s satisfaction.
For years this was a fascinating, oft-repeated anecdote — an example of how much effort and sweat it could take to get a scene right. But many such stories have cropped up in the 60-plus years since the Monroe-Wilder incident. Stanley Kubrick was alleged to have asked Harvey Keitel to perform a certain scene in Eyes Wide Shut more than 59 times. (I forget the exact number.) And of course, David Fincher is legendary for asking his actors to do dozens upon dozens of takes.
But now comes Mank costar Amanda Seyfried with a story about Fincher having her perform a single line — “You think I can just relax?” — roughly 200 times. The story was passed along yesterday by Collider‘s Tom Reimann.
Seyfried quote: “I was part of scenes with tons of people in it and we would do it for an entire week. I can’t tell you how many takes we did, but I would guess 200, maybe I could be wrong and could be way off. Uhm, I could be underestimating by five days of one scene when I didn’t have one line…‘You think I can just relax?’ No, because there are probably about nine or 10 different camera angles that had been on me at one point.”