American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 46

Life

of the

Mind

Dana Gonzales, ASC and
Polly Morgan, BSC employ a
broad array of tools and techniques
to plumb the depths of a
super-powered mutant's anguished
psyche for the FX series Legion.
By Iain Marcks
*|*

46

July 2018

B

ased on the Marvel Comics character created by Chris
Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, Legion is the story of
David Haller (Dan Stevens), a troubled young man
who's been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Or maybe he's
one of the world's most powerful mutants.
Season 1 opens on a psychiatric institution, where we
meet David and his burnout bestie, Lenny (Aubrey Plaza),
whose rote existence is upended with the arrival of a new
patient named Syd (Rachel Keller), a mysterious woman who
doesn't like to be touched. As it's later revealed, Syd's aversion
stems from her involuntary mutant ability to swap minds
with anyone whose skin comes into contact with hers - a
power that leads to a traumatic supernatural exchange
between her and David, which results in Lenny's demise (she
comes back) and the revelation of David's nascent abilities.
After David escapes from the hospital, Syd guides him to a
secret facility for mutants called Summerland, run by Dr.

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