American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 55

Unit photography by Jonathan Prime and Chris Raphael, courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures. Additional images provided by Peter Zuccarini.

When the New
England whaling
ship Essex is
attacked by a
massive whale, the
surviving crew -
including first mate
Owen Chase (Chris
Hemsworth,
opposite, right) -
must resort to the
unthinkable in
order to survive in
the feature In the
Heart of the Sea.
Below: Director Ron
Howard (left) and
cinematographer
Anthony Dod
Mantle, ASC, BSC,
DFF discuss a scene.

H

erman Melville's 1851 adventure, Moby-Dick, has been
adapted to the screen numerous times, most famously in
1956 by director John Huston and
cinematographer Oswald Morris,
BSC. Yet the factual tale that inspired
the novelist was not well known until
Nathaniel Philbrick's well-researched
account, In the Heart of the Sea: The
Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, was
published in 2000. That book formed
the basis of the Warner Bros. release
In the Heart of the Sea, directed by
Ron Howard and photographed by
Anthony Dod Mantle, ASC, BSC,
DFF.
The film begins in 1820, as the
Essex - led by inexperienced captain
George Pollard Jr. (Benjamin Walker)
and fiery first mate Owen Chase
(Chris Hemsworth) - sets sail from
Nantucket toward the rich hunting
waters off South America. After early
success in taking their first whale, the
ship is crippled by a violent storm and
later sinks after being attacked by a
massive, enraged cetacean. The
survivors, marooned on a rocky isle,
are forced to resort to the most
desperate measures before their eventual rescue.
"This is an interesting tale
because it's a true story, but it's also

about the power of creating a myth -
the writing of Moby-Dick," Howard
explains, taking time to speak with AC
while cutting the thriller Inferno. "And
the attack itself is so cinematic in the
way it was described by Melville and
in the journals written by some of the
Essex survivors. That scene alone was
a huge jumping-off point for me."
An Academy Award and ASC
Award winner for his camerawork on
director Danny Boyle's Slumdog
Millionaire (AC Dec. '08), Dod
Mantle had previously collaborated
with Howard on the period Formula
One racing drama Rush (AC Oct. '13).
www.theasc.com

The director notes, "I brought this
project to Anthony because I was
interested in his take on the script,
especially [given that] there are classic
elements to the story but also very
modern ideas. I wanted a modern
cinematic aesthetic - not in a
pretentious, rock 'n' roll way, but in a
style that would make it personal and
interesting and memorable. That's
what modern photography offers -
subtle meanings that go beyond the
literal to work on a subconscious level
that's immersive and emotional. And
Anthony immediately connected
with that. There's still a painterly
January 2016

55


http://www.theasc.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - January 2016

Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 1
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 2
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 4
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 5
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 6
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 7
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 8
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 9
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 14
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 15
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 17
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 18
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 19
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 20
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 21
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 22
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 50
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 53
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 54
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 55
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 56
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 61
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 62
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 63
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64a
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64b
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64c
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64d
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64e
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64f
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64g
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64h
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Cover4
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