Every week, Emerald City EPs David Schulner and Shaun Cassidy will bring EW behind the scenes and explain the ins-and-outs of the new NBC dark fantasy series inspired by the Land of Oz books. Here, Schulner spills on episode 5, “Everybody Lies.”
This week, instead of talking about what you just saw from our Emerald City episode “Everybody Lies,” I thought I’d tell you what you didn’t see. For the first time in the edit room, we had to cut scenes from the show. Which we never like to do. That’s time and money on the “cutting room floor.” We try to avoid this ahead of time by writing airtight scripts that come in around 47 pages, which is relatively short compared to other one-hour dramas.
That said, Tarsem’s director’s cut of “Everybody Lies” came in almost 20 minutes over our allotted time. Tarsem, ever respectful, didn’t want to eliminate story points so he let his cut reflect the script we wrote. So, after recovering from our initial shock, we actually began to look at it like manna from Heaven. So much to work with! Here’s a few things we cut and why.
Dorothy Walking – Two Minutes: When we were shooting in Barcelona at Park Güell, Tarsem was always under the gun. We had four days to shoot 10 episodes worth of exteriors. We had to leave the park at 4 p.m. every day and we couldn’t shoot any location for more than three hours so as not to frustrate tourists who came from all over the world to visit. So, every location we used, once we finished filming the actual scene, Tarsem would shoot Dorothy, masked and limping through the set, knowing this would eventually become a sequence in “Everybody Lies.” But, as beautiful as each location was, we only needed a few pops to get the idea.
The Wizard and Anna – Three Minutes: Anytime we get to see The Wizard without his wig is a moment we cherish. Not only was the Wizard wigless in this scene, he was actually revealing his true self to Anna. But, the actual content of the scene was all exposition, setting up his expectations regarding the King of Ev, so we understood the stakes when those expectations were dashed. Viewing the episode in totality, we immediately realized we didn’t need this scene to grasp the stakes in the story. And, since The Wizard and Anna have a tender moment at the end of the episode, we were repeating ourselves.
Tip and West – Two minutes: Yes, Tip is giving West a hand massage. Yes, West’s head is resting tenderly in Tip’s lap. Yes, I know, you hate me for cutting this. But, please hear me out. This scene sets up West’s “ruse” later in the episode. But, once you see this scene you know West’s ruse, thus diminishing its impact. With the scene gone, you hopefully have no idea what West is up to and the surprise makes up for not seeing Tip and West in bed together giving massages. Well, almost makes up for, right? In all honesty, I’m with you on this. This scene is a keeper. So, spoiler alert, we moved it to a later episode the season.
As always, thanks for watching Emerald City, and we’ll see you next week.
Emerald City airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on NBC.