Wes Anderson’s string of idiosyncratic, personal films includes Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom and now, The Grand Budapest Hotel. At the camera for all of these films was Robert Yeoman, ASC, and in each case, they chose to tell their stories on film.
“I’m such a believer in film,” says Yeoman, whose resume also includes Drugstore Cowboy, Dogma, The Squid and the Whale, and Bridesmaids. “I prefer the look and the on-set discipline. I find that when shooting digitally, the camera doesn’t cut, and people’s attention seems to wander. I look around the set and everyone’s on their phones. The process has been polluted. I think film causes people to concentrate on the shot. When the camera is rolling, everyone knows the importance of the moment and is paying attention. This energy is translated onto the film.”
When John Lee Hancock called about Saving Mr. Banks, John Schwartzman, ASC leapt at the opportunity. Although the film’s budget paled in comparison to Schwartzman’s previous assignment, The Amazing Spider-Man, it was a chance to shift gears and work on an adult drama with an old friend. “We’re very proud of the film,” says Schwartzman. “It’s a very small movie, but the story is compelling, and I think it’s some of my best work.”
The story is based on the fraught, real-life relationship between Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) and P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), the Australian novelist who wrote the source material for what eventually became Mary Poppins. The story follows Disney as he cajoles and persuades the difficult Travers through a long and arduous creative process. The time period ranges from 1906 Australia to the 1961 opening of Disneyland in Orange County, California, and the Hollywood premiere of Mary Poppins in 1964. That film won five ACADEMY AWARDS® and earned an additional eight nominations, still a record for a Disney film. Mary Poppins also helped lay the groundwork for Disney’s long-term success in live-action filmmaking.
In a small American coal town, the disappearance of a boy draws a young miner, the lonely wife of a mine executive and a local 14-year-old together in a web of secrets.
A good cinematographer knows when a lighter photographic touch better serves the story. Thomas Kloss felt that the independent film Don Jon was a textbook example.
“It’s not a high-budget action movie that’s being driven by photography,” he says. “This story is being told by actors, and the subject matter and the photography has to support that with a simple, straightforward approach and no overcomplicated bells and whistles.”
In Runner, Runner, Justin Timberlake plays Richie, a needy, ambitious grad student who pays off his college tuition bills with money he wins gambling. When he thinks he has the system figured out, he risks it all at an unregulated offshore gambling website — and loses. He decides he must confront the entrepreneur who cheated him, and that man, played by Ben Affleck, offers him a job. It seems like a dream gig, but eventually the party turns ominous. He realizes too late that he is so far in that he might not be able to get out.
Mauro Fiore, ASC and director Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer, The Take) turned their cameras on this story in Puerto Rico, which stood in for Costa Rica because it was a U.S. territory and offered more of an infrastructure for filmmaking. In 2009, Fiore won an OSCAR® for his work on Avatar, and his other feature credits include Real Steel, The A-Team, Smokin’ Aces, The Island, Tears of the Sun, and Training Day.
Download as PDF