The September 2010 issue of American Cinematographer magazine has a special focus on international production.
Boardwalk Empire (HBO)
ASC members Stuart Dryburgh and Kramer Morgenthau alternated with fellow cinematographer Jonathan Freeman while shooting this 13-part television series created by Sopranos alumnus Terence Winter and co-produced by Martin Scorsese, who also directed the pilot. Inspired by Nelson Johnson’s nonfiction book “Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City,” the show mixes historical figures with fictional characters in a saga about criminals exploiting Atlantic City during the Prohibition era. Steve Buscemi stars as the city’s corrupt treasurer, Nucky Thompson, who manages to build a lucrative business based on “tributes”: $6 for every case of liquor brought into Atlantic City, “inspection fees” collected from brothels, “wire service charges” from horse-betting operations, and percentages from gambling and numbers syndicates. Dryburgh, Morgenthau and Freeman discuss how they combined practical New York locations and impressive sets to create the show’s period ambience.
The Expendables (Lionsgate)
Jeffrey Kimball, ASC (Top Gun, Mission: Impossible II, Star Trek: Nemesis) brings his flair for action to this adrenalin-packed adventure directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone, who cast a veritable Who’s Who of fellow tough-guy stars (Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mickey Rourke, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Steve Austin and Randy Couture) as a team of mercenaries who head to South America to overthrow a dictator. Kimball explains the daunting logistics he confronted while shooting on location in Brazil.
Centurion (Magnet Releasing)
Cinematographer Sam McCurdy went on location to England and Scotland for this full-blooded historical adventure about a group of Roman soldiers who must fight for their lives after their legion is decimated during a surprise attack by the Picts, a warlike tribe that takes no prisoners. McCurdy discusses his ongoing collaboration with director Neil Marshall, for whom he shot the memorable 2005 horror film The Descent and the 2008 sci-fi thriller Doomsday.
Nowhere Boy (The Weinstein Co.)
Seamus McGarvey, ASC, BSC effectively captures the ambience of 1950s England in this affecting period drama about the pre-Beatles youth of future rock ’n’ roll icon John Lennon (Aaron Johnson). McGarvey discusses the strategies he and director Sam Taylor-Wood employed to portray a slice of Lennon’s life that’s generally familiar only to Beatles aficionados.
The September issue’s departments also offer illuminating insights:
- Short Takes presents an analysis by director/cinematographer Sam Nicholson, ASC of his soccer-themed short project World Cup, which put Arri’s new Alexa camera to the test.
- Production Slate presents pieces on Animal Kingdom, a hard-hitting Australian crime thriller shot by Adam Arkapaw, and The Milk of Sorrow, an Academy Award-nominated Peruvian drama shot by Natasha Brier.
- Filmmakers’ Forum offers firsthand observations from cinematographer David McFarland about his experiences shooting the indie drama Black Tulip on location in Afghanistan.
- Post Focus examines the color-correction techniques used on the studio feature Lottery Ticket, shot by cinematographer Patrick Cady.
- ASC Close-Up offers a profile of Society member Dejan Georgevich, whose credits include episodes of the television series Hope & Faith, Cupid and Mercy.