How the ‘Counterpart’ Team Created Two Howards in One Scene

Variety | 6/11/2018 | Danielle Turchiano
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In Justin Marks’ espionage thriller, mild-mannered Howard (J.K. Simmons) learns there is an alternate version of the world — and in it he has a double, Howard Prime (also Simmons). In the premiere, the two men are alone together for the first time, feeling each other out, testing each other’s memories and getting to know the differences in themselves, their relationships and their lives — all while Howard Prime is still holding back some key information.

“The idea behind the scene was to establish a strong precedent when it came to the kinds of scenes the audience would be able to see in a show like this,” Marks says.

Shots - Actor - Sequence - Side - Audio

“Initially, going into it, I had planned to have fewer and longer shots, but that can be challenging for an actor. If you have a pretty long sequence, you have to shoot it with one side, and then you have to use the audio from that track when [J.K.’s] performing against the other one. The rhythm has to be precise, and you have to link onto one of the takes — you already have to make a decision about which take [to use]. The show is all about the two Howards switching places, and this is the first time they start to be influenced by each other. It’s a scene about the private sides of these two men — where they recognize why they’re so different — and I ended up shooting it more intimately than I had planned.”

“J.K. decided in advance which one he was going to play first, and we rehearsed it several times that way with me playing the other Howard. But then once before we went into lighting mode, we traded places so I could see his delivery and timing and movement as...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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