When Rick Pearson was brought on to edit “Wonder Woman 1984,” he had no trouble getting in a mid-80s frame of mind.
That period is when Pearson graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead, worked at CableCom in Fargo and got his first break working at WCCO TV in Minneapolis.
He tapped into his work experiences to create the infomercial for Max Lord, the villain in “WW84.”
“We did it in this cheesy, page-turning style,” Pearson says from his home in Malibu, Calif.
While he didn’t edit the first “Wonder Woman,” he got involved with this one before filming started, participating in pre-visualization with returning director, Patty Jenkins.
Pearson was often on location for filming and particularly enjoyed one of the opening scenes in a shopping mall, that beacon of the 1980s.
“It was fun to see all of those shops,” he says. “She wanted to be sure the tone of the film was honest, but not to point at it and make it try to look kitschy.”
He says picking favorite scenes is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child, but he’s particularly happy with a modeling montage Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) does for Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot).
“I enjoy the comedy,” he says. “Chris Pine is terrific.”
The first film is set in World War I and Pine’s character, Rogers, dies while saving the lives of Wonder Woman and others. In the follow-up, set in Washington D.C., Rogers mysteriously returns to Prince/Wonder Woman, but their reunion comes at a cost.
While Pearson traveled with the production to film in England, his favorite location was the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington.
“It was so fun to be there,” he says.
Pearson may be new to the “Wonder Woman” series, but it wasn’t the first time he worked with Gadot as the superhero, having edited 2017’s “Justice League.” He also edited 2010’s “Iron Man 2,” one of more than 20 major motion pictures, ranging from “Muppets from Space” to the musical “Rent” to the comedy “Blades of Glory” to the James Bond flick “Quantum of Solace” and the 9/11 depiction “United 93.”
He says he doesn’t take a different approach to a comedy as opposed to an action film.
“I’m there to serve the performance and the director,” he says.
While he wasn’t a huge comic devotee growing up, he enjoys the creativity such adaptations offer.
“I like playing in that sandbox, so to speak,” he says.
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He’s currently working on the Tom Holland movie “Uncharted,” based on the treasure hunting video game.
While he’d normally be on location, the COVID-19 pandemic not only pushed back the shooting schedule, it also also prompted changes to the filmmaking and has Pearson editing from home.
“I miss the camaraderie of being able to walk down that hall and talk to someone, but we’re making the best of it,” he says.
His outlook is the same about Warner Bros.’ decision to simultaneously open “Wonder Woman 1984” in theaters and on the streaming service HBO Max.
The studio hosted screenings of the movie on its lot, but limited the amount of attendees per screening to about 15.
“It was great to see it on a big screen,” he says. “It’s a shame to see it on a TV. It wants to be big.”
He says how people view movies may continue to change, but he doesn’t see much change for how movies are made.
“I don’t know if content will change. People still want to be told stories,” he says.