It can’t be understated how hugely influential the Wachowski’s The Matrix was. Many a film after it tried (and often failed) to imitate its look, its tone, its groundbreaking visual effects. And the man responsible for the stylish look of the 1999 sci-fi film was cinematographer Bill Pope, who would go on to shoot the film’s much-maligned sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions to less than satisfactory results. There are a lot of things that can singled out for the reasons of The Matrix sequels’ failures — bloated plots, convoluted narratives, what have you — but Pope knows the real reason. And that reason is…Stanley Kubrick?
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Here’s a feature-length documentary on the art of cinematography — one of many such films, but this particular one does feature the participation of dozens of cinematographers. Actually, more than “dozens” — Jon Fauer‘s Cinematographer Style features interviews with over one hundred shooters. They include, but are hardly limited to Roger Deakins, László Kovács, Vittorio Storaro, Gordon Willis, Matthew Libatique, Bill Pope, Newton Thomas Sigel, Dante Spinotti, and John Toll.
A week ago I watched the beginning of the film and was put off — ironically, this film devoted to cinematography is hampered at the beginning by a too-literal and sometimes haphazard edit. But scan forward a bit to where the detailed talk of technique begins, and you’ll find a rich trove of material learned by years of experience on some of the most significant films. For anyone interested in how films are made — and not just how, but why — this is a great feature. Read More »
We sometimes get criticized for posting too many non-news set photos from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, but we promise that the photo above, which director Edgar Wright posted yesterday on his blog, actually contains a bit of news. First of all, principal photography has begun. But the big bit of news hidden within the photo is that BAFTA-nominated cinematographer Bill Pope is shooting the film.
You might not recognize Pope’s name, but you’ve seen some of the films he’s shot over the past 24 years, including Army Of Darkness, The Matrix trilogy, Spider-Man 2, Team America: World Police, and many others. That’s right, Pope is known for shooting some of the craziest action sequences of the last two decades.
Update: Apparently Edgar hinted at Pope’s involvement last month when he posted this photo of himself with Pope and the text “Nicely lit”:
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Eva Mendes has been cast in Frank Miller’s (Sin City, 300) big screen adaptation of Will Eisner’s The Spirit. Last week it was announced that Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation) was in final negotiations to star as the femme fatale in the film. Mendes will play Sand Saref, the only woman who could break the Spirit’s heart. Sand’s father was accidentally killed by the Spirit’s uncle, which pretty much ended their teenage romance.
It has also been announced that Bill Pope has been hired as the film’s cinematographer. Pope was the director of photography on some great cinematic projects over the last 17 years, including: Darkman, Army of Darkness, Fire in the Sky, Bound, The Matrix Trilogy, Wild Wild West, Spider-Man 2, and Team America. Miller has said that the film will utilize the same digital background technology used on Sin City and 300. It will be interesting to see what Pope will do with this type of green screen filming.
The Spirit follows a detective (Gabriel Macht) who fakes his own death in order to fight crime in Central City as the masked avenger. Frank Miller will start shooting the flick in October for a late 2009 release.