Falling Water. This project was Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, who was wonderfully thoughtful about how he wanted to approach the visuals on this pilot. The project is about people who share a single collective dream and Juan Carlos wished to establish a very specific visual language that we would “teach” the audience and help add depth to the contrast between waking life and the dream state. He pushed hard for consistency and the project had a purity due to his intent on that front. Juan is a very kind man and was just the right person to pursue this project. I was fortunate to work with him. We shot in NYC with a talented crew. The gaffer was Bill Almeda, who I know from the pilot for Smash. Mark Schmidt was the camera operator who followed this boy through room after room in a shot that ends the story and shows the complexity of the dream landscape. Very talented guys indeed!
Jurassic Park 3. In the spirit of “silhouette Sunday” here is a shot of Michael Jeter walking through a plane fuselage at El Mirage Dry Lakebed in California. This shot started in the cockpit of the derelict plane and panned him through the darker mid-section, then out the open rear door. As I recall there was a 4-stop pull during the shot in order to accommodate the bright exterior and dark interiors as Michael moved through the plane. Joe Johnston is fantastic at coming up with flowing shots of this manner. His ideas are often difficult to execute and are what I would consider to be quite advanced since he often adapts the plan to fit his inspirations on the set… Like any good director should. For me, that translates to having a plan in place, but being ready to augment that plan (to an often more complex interpretation) according to Joe’s needs. Quite a fun way to work and certainly a method that requires intense concentration in order to keep up with him. Through all that work and concentration, I find myself being quite gratified with working with him.
Wild Card. The great Stanley Tucci being introduced in silhouette in this William Goldman written project that takes place in Naked City, Las Vegas. Directed by Simon West… we were scheduled to shoot in an adjoining hallway where Stanley and Jason Statham would perform their introductory dialogue. When Simon arrived on the set that morning, he asked if we could play much of the scene in a showroom in the midst of preparing a Vegas stage show. Gaffer Bob Bates, who I met in New Orleans while shooting a massive night sequence on Percy Jackson, quickly and efficiently brought together what we needed to give Simon what he asked for in a very low-key fashion. This was the second film I’ve done with Simon and I trust his instincts and experience and will happily charge-up any hill he asks me to charge. Source Fours, some atmosphere and a few smaller lights here-and-there gave us a simple and graphic image of Stanley… Who is truly one of the most pleasurable actors to work with.
Captain America: First Avenger. The great Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull on set at Shepperton Studios in England. I had worked with Hugo the year prior on The Wolfman and he always surprises with his choices and brilliance. He understood, completely, the properties of this shot and lighting set-up that he could bring forth. The combination of a great actor coalescing with a great screen moment reminds one of why they decided to make films in the first place. More on Captain America later, but this film was long and involved, and became larger than life in its production scale. I have a regular UK crew that’s helped me through every step, including Gaffer John Higgins (Biggles), Key Grip Gary Hymns, Operator Des Whelan and First AC Julian Bucknall.