I felt like the movie was cursed for so long. But what ended up happening was, I kept in touch with Ryan and Michelle, and I would have, you know, a nine-hour dinner with Ryan and Michelle, every six months or so, over those six years, and we would always talk about "Blue Valentine." It never got old to us, it just continued, you know? So much so that I would consider them to be kind of, co-writers on the film with me, because I would go home from these meetings with them, so inspired, and I would write the script based on what we talked about.via
What that did was, by the time we started shooting, they knew who they were, as characters. They had so much information, they knew where they went to elementary school, they knew what their best friend's first name was, they had stories about their first driving test. And when I started rolling the cameras, I felt like I was making a documentary about two people falling in love, because Ryan as Dean, was getting to know Michelle as Cindy in front of the cameras. Not to say we had single takes of everything… we shot all day. If we had twelve hours on set, we would shoot eleven hours. The scene where he plays the ukulele, and she tap-dances… well that scene came about because we had all night for Ryan and Michelle to get to know each other… and we just filmed Ryan and Michelle walking up and down the street all night long… getting to know each other. It was really the characters meeting on screen for the first time.
I also read that Cianfrance had Gosling and Williams live in the house that works as their movie house for a month, while they took a break between filming the scenes of their meeting and their present day. He had them figure out a budget for groceries, out of which they had to eat, live and get through.