Into the Wild's Jay Cassidy Talks Oscar Nomination with RT

And where the real rewards of film-making lie.

by | February 22, 2008 | Comments

In 1992, Christopher McCandless graduated from university, gave away his possessions and hitchhiked into the Alaskan wilderness. The story of his life was told in both harrowing and inspiring detail in John Krakauer’s novel, Into the Wild. Over the past eight years, director Sean Penn has worked to bring the film adaptation to the screen and it has been met with critical acclaim and received many nominations and awards. One such nomination belongs to editor, Jay Cassidy. The long time Penn collaborator talks to RT about his nomination for the 2008 Achievement in Film Editing Academy Award.

The only way to travel.

What does an Oscar nomination mean to you?

Jay Cassidy: The nomination is the honour; this year in particular. To be included with the other four films in this category is truly a great honour. They are all really interesting films and I like each one of them so much in their own right.

Is it something you have aspired to throughout your career or does it feel a little surreal now that it is here?

JC: If you approach life with the calculation that you can arrange your career so you will receive those kinds of honours, you will never get there. You simply have to put those thoughts aside and concentrate on the work because it is hard enough to make the movie without letting thoughts of personal grandiosity invade your mind. There have been so many awards and nominations for Into the Wild, and we are delighted that people have accepted the film and recognised the film to the degree that they have, but it is not the reason you make it.

There are three people I care about in regards to their judgment of this film. The first is John Krakauer because he brought this story to life. He took it from a small tabloid tale that appeared for one day in a newspaper. Most people dismissed Chris as some kid who went to Alaska, was stupid and died too young. Krakauer looked at this kid’s life and he found a life well lived. He found a degree of humanity that transcended all superficial judgment.

The second person I care about is Carine McCandless. She was Chris’ sister and knew him better than anyone.

And I care about Chris McCandless himself. We constantly asked ourselves one question. If Chris could see this film, would he dismiss it as some sort of fantasy about his life or would he feel there were certain truths being told. My feeling is that Sean took this story and injected a level of poetry. He made this kid’s life mean something in a way that makes people think a second time. The next time a kid is lost in the wild, or the next time there is a senseless death, they might reflect and think there is more going on here than might appear on the surface.

2008 Oscar nominations for Achievement in Film Editing
The Bourne Ultimatum: Christopher Rouse
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: Juliette Welfling
Into the Wild: Jay Cassidy
No Country for Old Men Roderick Jaynes
There Will Be Blood: Dylan Tichenor