Directing duo The Daniels and film crew talk crafting sci-fi madness of ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’

Noah Levine, Life & Arts Film Columnist

SXSW 2022 kicked off in Austin on Friday night with the incredible premiere of A24’s “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” The multiverse-style science fiction comedy comes from directing duo The Daniels, famously known for their 2016 adventure comedy “Swiss Army Man” and extensive music video work, including DJ Snake’s “Turn Down For What.”

The Texan attended the red carpet premiere of their latest film and spoke with both Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert along with crew members from the film’s stunt and sound teams.

The Daily Texan: I took a music video class last semester and we studied your stuff. It’s stressful working with college artists.

Dan Kwan: That doesn’t change. All the way to the top that doesn’t change.

DT: What’s the most important thing you learned from directing music videos that you were able to apply to your work on a feature film?

DK: How to shoot fast with more money. That was a big, important thing for us to learn.

Daniel Scheinert: How to relentlessly compromise on stuff that’s okay to compromise (on). (With) music videos, we constantly have to be like, “Oh that’s not happening, we have to save that! That’s the important thing. That’s the central gag.” Even with this movie, with this many resources, there’d be tough days and we’d have to be like, “We’re going to have to compromise that, that and that, because this is what matters. Because if we don’t get that, the scene doesn’t work.”

DT: What’s your advice to student filmmakers trying to incorporate stunts into their projects?

Stunt coordinator Timothy Eulich: Have a professional there to make sure everything is okay. It’s good to have somebody there whose job it is to oversee everything and make sure everything is done safely. I know it’s awesome, you want to have those cool action moments in your projects, but — even if it is just somebody with some martial arts background — just have somebody whose job is dedicated to making sure you’re doing everything safely. Then you, as the director or producer, aren’t trying to take on that task as well.

DT: How much preparation time did you have for this project?

TU: Typically, with a movie of this scale I would have at least 2-3 months with the actors. With this movie I had two weeks. Two weeks to create all of the action, get everybody rehearsed. It was not enough time, (but) we made it happen safely.

DT: Directing duo The Daniels have extensive music-video experience. What was the collaboration like between them and the sound department?

Alexandra Fehrman (Sound Department): (The Daniels) have a lot of specificity in terms of what frequency range they want to hear stuff. … It was really nice working with people who really understood not only how important sound was, but also how to get what they want out of it and communicate that.

Brent Kiser (Sound Department): Dan Kwan is an amazing editor, so it was all very collaborative. We’d give him some sound elements, he’d cut some stuff and send it back to us. We’d cut some stuff, Paul Rogers, (the picture editor), he’d do some stuff. Don’t be scared to break the rules and let people try things … Every song you love was an accident. Literally somebody was just sitting around like, “Woah, woah, woah, what’d you do? Do that again.” Experimentation is everything.