American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 43

Photos by Adam Rose and Jennifer Clasen, courtesy of Amazon Studios.

be a naturally gifted shot-maker, so my
director of photography has to be," Ray
explains. "Danny's compositions are
phenomenal, and he has a great sense of
how and when to move the camera."
Though Moder hadn't shot a series
before, the prospect of reuniting with
Ray, combined with the inherently
visual nature of the material, inspired
him to sign on.
"The period is so cinematic, and
it's such a great subject if you're a movie
lover," Moder says. "Billy and I had a lot
of fun conversations about what we
were doing and how it related to film
history. We watched Singin' in the Rain,
which is later than the era we're portraying - which takes place just before it -
so how does that style inform what
we're doing? We used a lot of movies
from the era as references - like Fritz
Lang movies that are so much fun, and
that inspire you to ask how they did it
with what they had, and why they did it
that way."
For Moder, part of the challenge
was finding the line between remaining
true to the style of the period and
formulating a visual style appropriate for
contemporary audiences. "They used a
lot of light in those 1930s movies, and in
more obvious ways," he explains. "Today
we're always trying to be less on-thenose about where the light's coming
from, or to make it look unlit, and
modern audiences expect more contrast.
The good news is that even though
we're using a lot of LED fixtures, it's
gotten to the point where we can really
soften and color the light, giving it
enough density to make it more fitting
to this era."
Ray notes that he and Moder
looked at a lot of George Hurrell
photography to recapture the look of the
period. "You don't want a story set in
1936 to be screaming with 2017 technology that will pop you out of the
story," he explains. "I thought this
subject - the contrast between the
dream of Hollywood and the reality of
Hollywood, and on a deeper level the
question of why that dream is so powerful and has such a hold on us - neces-

Opposite: Producer Monroe Stahr (Matt Bomer) battles studio head Pat Brady (Kelsey Grammer)
in the 1930s Hollywood-set series The Last Tycoon. This page, top: Celia Brady (Lily Collins)
informs her father that she's joining forces with Stahr to make the perfect picture.
Bottom: Cinematographer Danny Moder on set.

sitated a very classic kind of style."
Moder adds that his influences
were not limited to films from and
about the 1930s. "We talked a lot about
The Godfather, which Billy, like so many
directors, is obsessed with, as well as
Chinatown. For me, John Seale ASC,
ACS's work on The English Patient was
extremely important - I wanted to
replicate the way he would make you
think you were looking at one thing and
then reveal it to be something different,
which fit in perfectly with the visual
language and theme of The Last Tycoon.
www.ascmag.com

I also looked at the use of color in
Boardwalk Empire and The Crown. I
thought that if we could aim for that
level of photography with our budget,
our crew, and our time, that would be
pretty great."
Those budget and time limitations became more pronounced when
The Last Tycoon was picked up for series.
"The pilot was done in 12 or 13 days,
and we got some pretty good work
done," Moder recalls. "We were working with a phenomenal production
designer, Patrizia von Brandenstein, and
August 2017

43


http://www.ascmag.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - August 2017

Contents
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Intro
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 1
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 2
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Contents
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 4
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 5
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 6
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 7
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 8
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 9
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 10
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 11
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 12
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 13
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 14
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 15
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 16
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 17
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 18
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 19
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 20
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 21
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 22
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 23
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 24
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 25
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 26
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 27
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 28
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 29
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 30
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 31
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 32
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 32a
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 32b
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 32c
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 32d
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 33
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 34
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 35
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 36
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 37
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 38
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 39
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 40
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 41
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 42
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 43
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 44
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 45
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 46
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 47
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 48
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 49
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 50
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 51
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 52
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 53
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 54
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 55
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 56
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 57
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 58
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 59
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 60
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 61
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 62
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 63
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 64
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 65
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 66
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 67
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 68
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 69
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 70
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 71
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 72
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 73
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 74
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 75
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 76
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 77
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 78
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 79
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - 80
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - August 2017 - Cover4
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