With all that extra clicking, watching Black Mirror’s new interactive movie Bandersnatch is quite a bit more labor-intensive than perhaps anything else we’ve seen on TV, but imagine how much effort went into making the darn thing. Now, thanks to two new Netflix featurettes, we can see just how difficult bringing the choose-your-own-adventure film to life really was.
The first video focuses on the tech involved in such an impressive interactive endeavor, while talking to a number of important faces behind the scenes, including producer Annabel Jones, Netflix VP of Product Todd Yellin, director David Slade, and creator/writer Charlie Brooker, who describes his initial reluctance with the project, for fear that it would just be a gimmick.
Fortunately, Brooker was overcome with an idea that he thought would actually make the medium a part of the message. But that’s when the real work started.
Perhaps the featurette’s biggest impression we’re left with is that many a below-the-line job was made all the more difficult by the inclusion of the interactive element. But two folks are likely fighting for "Most Thankless": editor Tony Kearns — who calls it the “biggest editing challenge” of his career — and script supervisor Marilyn Kirby, who had to keep track of where the production was in the script, with action repeating itself constantly.
Because Bandersnatch is such a complex beast, it merits not one but two featurettes dropped on the very same day. The second vid is more of an intro into what the story is about, from the standpoints of Brooker, Jones, and the actors involved, including Fionn Whitehead (Stefan) and Will Poulter (Colin), both of whom detail the specific challenges of wrapping their heads around acting in scenes that have numerous versions.
“Sometimes I’d be delivering what I thought was Version 3 of the dialogue, and I could see the actor opposite me giving me the eyes as if to say ‘That’s Version 4, mate,’ ” says Poulter. You can imagine how confusion could reign.
If the arts are all about making the most impactful choices, how do multiple choices bolster the overall piece? Just another of the many interesting questions that Bandersnatch, now available for multiple viewings on Netflix, dares to ask.