When editor Trevor Mirosh isn’t finding the magic in film footage, he’s shooting his own. The seasoned motion-picture editor is known for his work on claustrophobic thrillers. He cut 2021’s The Ravine, in which an unspeakable crime rocks a peaceful community, and more recently, cut
Vendetta, starring Bruce Willis, Thomas Jane, Theo Rossi, Clive Standen, Jackie Moore and Mike Tyson. Mirosh spoke with Post recently about his career path and some of his latest work.
Tell us a bit about your background and career journey into editing.
“When I was growing up, most of my friends were musicians and I really looked up to them, to their creative energy. I played piano, but didn’t feel that playing music was my path, but I loved movies. I grew up very much a Steven Spielberg fan because he did all genres; from action and sci-fi films like Raiders and
E.T., to monster in the house films like
Jurassic Park. I was also inspired by
Star Wars and Lawrence Kasdan’s writing. My dad took me to see
Empire Strikes Back and the line went for miles — the amount of people that wanted to see this movie was amazing to me. But it was really the editing work of Thelma Schoonmaker in Martin Scorsese’ film,
Raging Bull that drew me into the editing world. Thelma’s gritty editing style and her jarring approach really inspired me to attend film school and become an editor.
“After film school I got a job as a production assistant on a TV show and during filming it was very cold. Often one of the editors would drive by, roll down his window and ask me how I’m doing. So I told him the truth: that I was freezing and wanted to be warm, learning how to be an editor. So sure enough, the next week I was asked to join the editing department as a trainee editor.
“I continued as an assistant editor working on a television series called Lonesome Dove, then MGM’s
Scary Movie 3 followed by
Final Cut starring Robin Williams, where I was mentored by long time film editor Dede Allan, who was known for films such as
Bonnie and Clyde,
Dog Day Afternoon,
The Breakfast Club,
Wonder Boys and many more.
“Today I specialize in action/thriller films. I love them because of Michael Bay films and the John Wick franchise directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, and also David Leitch’s Atomic Blonde — just so cool, energetic and creative work.”
Can you tell us how you got involved with both The Ravine and Vendetta?
“I have been fortunate to be working with director Keoni Waxman for several years, so when he had a completed draft of The Ravine script, he asked me to read it. He went on to explain that they’re going to shoot in New Orleans with Eric Dane, Teri Polo and Lelsie Uggams from Deadpool, so naturally, I was very excited to be involved in this thriller film, and working with such incredible talent.
“I got involved with Vendetta through a producer I knew. He phoned me and asked if I wanted to work on an action film with Bruce Willis, Mike Tyson, Clive Standen and Thomas Jane. He had me at Bruce Willis.”
Can you walk us through your process for making some of the strategic cuts in either of these projects?
“The Ravine is a thriller, adapted from a book and inspired by true events, about an unspeakable crime that rocks a peaceful community, so when it was time to reveal the crime, we had to be very strategic and willing to show aspects of the horror. So much of this crime was captured on film, but we didn’t need to use it all. So we were very selective in showing what we thought the audience should see and what not to see. Showing this crime was also strategic, as we wanted to drive home the emotional impact it had on our main characters and their community. It was all strategic to hopefully help our audience find the positive effects forgiveness can have.
“There was also a discussion on how to open the film. The book started out in Europe, but the footage of this was yet to be shot, so we had to make a strategic choice to go film it or not. In the end, it was important to the director and the producers Robert and Kelly Pascuzzi to stay as true to the book as possible. A few months after initial production wrapped, the director went to Europe to capture the opening and we layered it into the film. Not only did we stay true to the book, but this new opening helped set up the characters and build the suspense of it all.
“Vendetta is a revenge action/thriller about a father who takes the law into his own hands after his daughter was brutally murdered. Because of the genre, we had to make strategic choices on how to reveal the daughter’s murder. Less is more, but again we needed to see this event so we understand why the father ultimately does what he does in the film.”
What editing system are you using?
“For each of these films I used my favorite editing program — Avid Media Composer. I’m a big user of ‘script sync’ and this allows me to view all the director’s printed takes in script view. If I’m looking for a certain line to read, I can easily go to that line in the script, simply click on the take and it will play me that line. Next, I would click on take 2 and it would play me the same line, but perhaps it’s a different read or performance, then go to take 3 and so on. It’s a great way to compare line reads and discover what works best for the scene.”
Did each film have its own set of challenges?
“The challenge on The Ravine was to cut down the first assembly of this film from three-and-half hours to under two hours. Now this is often a common challenge in many films, but because this film was adapted from a book and inspired by true events, determining what scenes to cut or kill was a difficult one. We needed to stay true to the book the best we could, so as I began tightening the film, I started overlapping dialogue, forward cutting scenes using images/sound and combining two scenes into one to increase pace and reduce the overall running time. In doing so I discovered the film's style, so I continued overlapping dialogue throughout the film and combining scenes, forward cutting. It was a lot of fun to create and it’s a style I love to implement when it works for the story.
“I’m an editor who likes to experiment when given the opportunity. I like to try and surprise the audience with edits, but having said that, every film is different — sometimes it works and other times it’s not a fit. Trying things on this film allowed myself and the director to determine if a particular style worked for the film or not.
“With Vendetta, an interesting aspect was cutting the scenes with Mike Tyson and Thomas Jane. Both these actors love to improvise their dialogue, and this can make the process a bit different in order to edit the scene fluidly. Editing actors who like to improvise is hilarious and fun, especially when the director shoots multiple takes. This is where patience is required, as you have to keep digging through all the takes to find something that can work emotionally for both characters.”
Where can we keep up with your work?
“Connect with me on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/trevormirosh) and follow me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Mindtoolfilms).”