Shutter Angles

Conversations with DPs, directors and below-the-line crew by Matt Mulcahey

  • Juancho Hernangomez and Adam Sandler on the set of Hustle “It Was More Akin to Shooting Dance than Shooting a Live Sporting Event”: DP Zak Mulligan on Hustle

    In Hustle, a burned out Philadelphia 76ers scout (Adam Sandler) discovers a raw talent (pro hooper Juancho Hernangómez) in a Spanish pick-up game and attempts to put him on the NBA’s draft radar. It’s got the familiar structural bones of the underdog sports drama—complete with epic training montage—but Hustle is like a perfectly run play. Even if you know what’s coming, you’re defenseless when it’s executed properly. The plot mechanics may be recognizable, but the approach to shooting the basketball scenes is novel. As Hustle cinematographer Zak Mulligan points out, televised presentations of the sport—and most basketball movies—offer the action…  Read more

    On Jun 29, 2022
  • Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight “A Final Hurrah for Sodium Vapor”: DP Andrew Droz Palermo on Moon Knight

    When I last spoke to cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo for The Green Knight, he detailed the learning curve for creating that film’s all-CGI fox. On his latest project, Moon Knight, the degree of difficulty has been raised from small woodland creature to towering, vaguely avian mummified Egyptian god. The Marvel adaptation stars Oscar Isaac in dual roles as a man suffering from dissociative identity disorder who oscillates between a meek museum gift shop employee and a mercenary serving as the human avatar of Khonshu, the aforementioned god of the moon. With the full series now streaming on Disney+, Palermo talked…  Read more

    On Jun 15, 2022
  • “They Referred to a Letter They’d Gotten from Spielberg”: DP Caleb Heymann on Stranger Things‘s Season 4

    In the penultimate season of Stranger Things, the characters find themselves scattered beyond the small town confines of Hawkins, Indiana for the first time, spread out to different, countries and cliques. Winds of change swept into the camera department as well. After three seasons of Red cameras and Leica lenses, the latest batch of episodes employed the Alexa LF paired with rehoused vintage 1960s glass. The cinematographers wielding those tools have changed too. With original series cinematographer Tim Ives not returning, Caleb Heymann shot seven of the nine episodes, sharing the season’s work with Brett Jutkiewicz (Scream and the upcoming…  Read more

    On Jun 9, 2022
  • Daniels on the set of Everything Everywhere All at Once “The Silliest Use of IMAX in the History of IMAX”: DP Larkin Seiple on Everything Everywhere All at Once

    “A messy but fun way to make something very stupid but very beautiful.” That’s how cinematographer Larkin Seiple describes the process of creating the multiverse-jumping singularity that is Everything Everywhere All at Once, a mixture of the silly and profound that careens through alternate realities populated with hot dog fingers, butt plugs and raccoon versions of Ratatouille while imploring us to embrace the fleeting moments of grace offered up by the universe in the face of our cosmic insignificance. Michelle Yeoh stars as Evelyn, a harried laundromat owner whose marriage, mother-daughter relationship and IIRS audit all crater simultaneously. Into that personal…  Read more

    On May 23, 2022
  • Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal in The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent “Contrast is the Toughest Thing to Shift”: DP Nigel Bluck on the Two Nicolas Cages of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

    One of New Zealand cinematographer Nigel Bluck’s first breaks as a young DP came shooting 2nd unit on the original Lord of the Rings trilogy. He had one feature film under his belt and little visual effects experience, but Bluck learned on the job and persevered through nine months of bluescreen-draped soundstage work. Two decades later, the now-seasoned Bluck faced another new challenge with The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. “I’m not a comedy guy, normally,” said Bluck. “This is the warmest and funniest movie I’ve ever shot.” It’s definitely the Nicolas Cage-iest movie anyone has ever shot. The Oscar winner plays…  Read more

    On May 13, 2022
  • Ozu on Wheels: DP Florian Hoffmeister on Shooting Kogonada’s Half of Pachinko

    The pilot of a series is typically its true north, the aesthetic guiding light of all that follows. However, in the new Apple TV+ series Pachinko, two very different director/cinematographer teams have both been given their own creative compass. Based on the 2017 bestseller, the familial epic unfolds over 70 years, tracing the story of four generations of a Korean immigrant family that settles in Japan following an oppressive occupation. The season’s eight episodes were split evenly between directors Kogonada (Columbus, After Yang) and Justin Chon (Blue Bayou). The filmmakers shared the same crew, camera, sets, costumes and locations, yet…  Read more

    On May 9, 2022
  • Season four, episode three of Ozark “I Think of the Digital Chip as a Film Stock”: DP Shawn Kim on Shooting Ozark‘s Final Season

    After four seasons of financial and familial duplicity, the winding saga of Missouri drug launderers Wendy and Marty Byrde comes to an end tomorrow as Netflix releases the final half of its 14-episode swan song. I have no idea yet whether the karmic scales will finally tilt towards a comeuppance for the couple but  am certain that whatever awaits the Byrdes will unfold in the murky depths of low-key interiors and the cool cyan of perpetually overcast exteriors. It’s a well-defined aesthetic that has earned three Emmy nominations for the show’s cinematographers. For the climactic season, a new team of…  Read more

    On Apr 28, 2022
  • “Ninety Percent of the Lighting Was Done Pretty Much How You Would’ve Done It in 1979”: Cinematographer Eliot Rockett on the Period Horror Film X

    “The story can’t just change midway through,” exclaims a pretentious adult film director incredulously in X.  It certainly can in a Ti West horror film, where one of the joys is often the shift from the methodical pace of the opening to the blood-drenched mania of the finale. Set in 1979, X finds a group of ambitious but inexperienced filmmakers heading to a remote Texas farm with dreams of making the next Debbie Does Dallas. However, the troupe fails to inform their hosts – an elderly couple who rent the crew their bunkhouse – about the purpose of their visit,…  Read more

    On Apr 21, 2022
  • Severance “We Can Give Clint Eastwood His Lens”: DP Jessica Lee Gagné on Severance

    In Severance, workers at a windowless subterranean cubicle farm have their memories surgically bifurcated. The procedure separates the consciousness of the work self from the personal self—the “innie and outie,” in the parlance of the show—with neither retaining memories from the other half of their existence. Listening to Jessica Lee Gagné talk about her craft, it’s hard to imagine the cinematographer not taking her work home with her. Long after wrapping the show, she’s still irked that the shade of red in a kitchen’s undercabinet lighting isn’t quite right. She’s precise enough to carry .15 ND filters, because she believes…  Read more

    On Apr 14, 2022
  • Neve Campbell in Scream (2022) “Is That a 58 Degree Dutch Tilt?”: DP Brett Jutkiewicz on Scream

    In the latest Scream installment, “elevated horror” and “requels” are among the contemporary genre trends affectionately deconstructed. The movie also lobs a little friendly fire toward the 1990s slasher revival that birthed the series—a character quips, “It was really over-lit and everyone had weird hair.” There’s not much cinematographer Brett Jutkiewicz can do about the latter, but the former served as a gauntlet thrown down. “When you have a line like that in the script, as a DP you think, ‘I guess I better not over-light this thing. I don’t want to end up as the butt of my own joke,’”…  Read more

    On Apr 11, 2022
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