American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 47

Unit photography by Michelle Faye Fraser, Prashant Gupta and Suzanne Tenner, courtesy of FX.

Opposite: After
escaping a
psychiatric
hospital, David
Haller (Dan
Stevens) and Syd
Barrett (Rachel
Keller) take refuge
at a secret facility
where David
discovers that he
may be one of the
world's most
powerful mutants
on FX's Legion - a
series set in
Marvel's X-Men
universe. This
page, left:
Cinematographer
Polly Morgan, BSC
(center) discusses
a scene with
director Ellen
Kuras, ASC (left).
Below:
Cinematographer
Dana Gonzales,
ASC on set during
Season 1.

Melanie Bird ( Jean Smart), a telepathic
therapist who helps David discover that
he has been haunted his entire life by an
evil parasitic mutant known as the
"Shadow King," aka Amahl Farouk
(Navid Negahban).
The Shadow King ultimately
departs from David's body, and in
Season 2, a mysterious orb appears and
teleports David to an unknown place.
With Farouk on the loose, David's associates form an alliance with their erstwhile enemy "Clark" (Hamish
Linklater) and his government shadow
organization, Division III.
Legion, developed by Fargo
showrunner Noah Hawley, is a coproduction of FX Productions and
Marvel Television. The series is
photographed by Fargo cinematographer Dana Gonzales, ASC, who established its look and shares a credit in
Season 1 with Craig Wrobleski, CSC,
then in Season 2 with Polly Morgan,
BSC and Erik Messerschmidt. The
show's pilot received nominations for
the Camerimage International Film
Festival's First Look competition, and
for an ASC Award for an Episode for

Commercial Television.
"We're putting art on the screen
to tell our story - pop art, Bauhaus,
modern art," Gonzales says. "These
defined what came to be the style of the
show." Cinematically speaking, he
places Legion on a spectrum between
the films of Stanley Kubrick and Paolo
Sorrentino. Specifically, the filmmakers
studied A Clockwork Orange, with its
pseudo-futuristic Brutalist milieu and
John Alcott BSC's wide-lens framing.
(Hawley even appropriates the film's
www.ascmag.com

title for the name of the show's quasisci-fi retro-'70s mental facility:
Clockworks Psychiatric Hospital.)
Sorrentino's influence - which itself is
influenced by the likes of Scorsese,
Spike Lee, the Coen brothers and
Antonioni - is evident in the aspects of
Legion that hew closely to its characters'
troubled emotional lives.
Gonzales notes that the starting
point of any creative discussion about an
episode of Legion is that "the visuals and
the storytelling must work seamlessly,
July 2018

47


http://www.ascmag.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - July 2018

Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 1
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 2
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 4
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American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 45
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 46
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 47
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 48
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 49
American Cinematographer - July 2018 - 50
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American Cinematographer - July 2018 - Cover3
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