Film & TV

Selecting a Performance Case Study: Jack O’Connell in Money Monster

Jodie Foster

Lesson time 05:19 min

Using Jack O’Connell’s performance in Money Monster, Jodie shows you what she considers when selecting a performance from multiple takes. Learn how to review dailies to make choices for your own film.

Jodie Foster
Teaches Filmmaking
In her first-ever online class, Jodie Foster teaches you how to bring stories from page to screen with emotion and confidence.
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Well, we've seen how it works when you have one perfect take. And you're able to build on that. Sometimes, you have to do a lot of takes. And as an actor, that can be a painful process, because you have to be able to find spontaneity, you have to make it feel real. You have to discover it in that moment as if it was just happening to you. You may have to do that 20, 30, 40, sometimes a hundred times, David Fincher. And that, say-- it's an interesting skill. You know? How do you bring that up again? You can't manufacture it. Sometimes, that means that the takes will change over time. The takes that you did in the beginning are just never going to be the same as the ones you did in the end. And maybe those last takes are better, because you're exhausted, because you're sweaty, because it doesn't have the same spin that it might have had. Or maybe like a ball that's moving, you have a momentum of emotion, that by the time that you get to take 20 or 25, your character is just sort of giving everything that he has. In this case, Jack O'Connell is finally, at the end of the movie, after having lived for the entire movie, trying to get somebody to acknowledge his pain. Not even to give him his money back, not even to give him his wife back, not even to give him his life back. He knows if he's caught, if he ends this day, he'll end up going to prison probably for the rest of his life. He just wants to hear something that acknowledges what he's suffered and that says that he matters. We'll get to see my poor torturing of Jack and making him do take after take after take. I think that the takes were wonderful. I think that there were some technical things that I was trying to accomplish as well. Don't forget that he's going to have to give this emotional performance, but he's also going to have to make sure that he doesn't hide his face with his hand, that his hand is always in frame, that when he turns to his left shoulder, that he doesn't block the other actor, so that the camera can see past, that he remains in focus. There's any number of different technicals, constraints that an actor has to simultaneously help with and collaborate with and participate with. He's going to have to give this performance on one hand, but he's going to have to also accommodate the camera so that what we're hoping for will end up on screen. - That's all I wanted to hear, man. - That's all I wanted to hear, man. - That's all I wanted to hear, man. That's all I wanted to hear, man. That's all I wanted to hear, man. - That's all I wanted to hear, man. - That's all I wanted to hear, man. - That's all I wanted to hear, man. - Wonderful thing about Jack O'Connell is that he loves a kind of primitive language. And sometimes, he speaks a different vocabulary than I do. And so both of us have to translate. He just wants me to talk to him in terms of character. So he doesn't want me to talk about filmmaking. He doesn't respond as m...

Storytelling in action

Go behind the scenes with two-time Oscar-winner Jodie Foster, star of Silence of the Lambs and director of Little Man Tate. In her first online film class, she’ll teach you how to bring your vision to life. Jodie discusses her experience on both sides of the camera to guide you through every step of the filmmaking process, from storyboarding to casting and camera coverage. Everyone has a story. Learn how to tell yours.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Jodie is really open and totally engaging. I love the depth and breadth of the course especially her thoughts on how to get the best out of the actors and her approaches to retaking scenes to find the best ad libbed performance.

Jodie Foster is a great teacher. I've studied with the other filmmaking teachers at Masterclass and each instructor has their own style of teaching. Jodie's complements the others. She's a great teacher and I've learnt so much from her, her workbook and suggested reading materials. Thank you Jodie for being a part of Masterclass.

This is an inspiration that relates indirectly to my life. It is motivation to use my creative will to make my vision a reality.

I have learned a lot about filmmaking, and I feel ready to go out and "Just Do It!"



So, at the end, how many takes did you do? For any actor / actress, if they are willing to do more than 20 takes, they are amazing already because acting is physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting.


This session which the actual shot scene is spliced into the lesson itself demonstrates an awesome way of Jody's words fusing in my mind how valuable this session is.

Carlos S.

Great to see how she collaborates with different kinds of actors, depending of what they need and how they feel.


I'm worried about reaching the end so I'm going to go back and just re-watch the entire film haha! That's the kind of music I'd like to create and I guess analogously speaking the kind of life that I, at least as a hypothesis based on this, should want to lead! I'm also aware of the psychological tendency to think I've "completed" something after the assigned "ending" has been reached, so I think going back to the start is a good idea haha. Great work!


It's so great to see that no matter the budget, actors will say their lines until the director decides it's time to move on. What's not to love?