American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 10

Every so often, rumors reach our ears about a show
that's truly going for broke, and The Revenant is just
such an endeavor, having achieved legendary status
while it was still being made. Shot by Emmanuel
Lubezki, ASC, AMC for director Alejandro González Iñárritu, the movie is based upon the remarkable true-life
experiences of Hugh Glass (played by Leonardo
DiCaprio), a 19th-century explorer cruelly abandoned by
his companions after being mauled by a grizzly bear. The
movie's dramatization follows Glass as he treks through
mile after mile of freezing, inhospitable terrain to exact
his revenge. In bringing the saga to life, the cast and
crew of The Revenant braved a long, arduous shoot
amid brutal winter weather conditions that tested their
mettle to the max. The reward for their labors is an
impressive survival epic replete with fierce, jaw-dropping images - including one astounding
sequence in which a strategically induced background avalanche appears, on cue, to
augment the emotional undercurrents of DiCaprio's performance.
In Michael Goldman's coverage ("Left for Dead," page 36), Lubezki describes The
Revenant as "the roughest and hardest thing I have ever done in my life," while Iñárritu notes,
"We couldn't do it on a set, under normal Hollywood rules, and bring in snow and put in
bluescreens. I wanted to absolutely kill any artifice. In keeping with that truth, we had to go
through a true natural process, and challenge ourselves."
In the Heart of the Sea, which reteamed Anthony Dod Mantle, ASC, BSC, DFF with
director Ron Howard, also tells a rugged tale of survival - complicated by what the cinematographer recalls as "an orgy of interior and exterior studio work, water-tank shooting,
location shooting, second- and third-unit work, underwater photography, aerial work and
visual effects." David E. Williams has logged all of the details ("Savage Sea," page 54).
Adam Arkapaw further confirms that cinematography is not the best career choice for
anyone who prefers the comforts of a Barcalounger to a canvas-backed crew chair. While
shooting Macbeth on location in Scotland, Arkapaw endured conditions that sent even hardy
locals scurrying for cover. "A lot of exteriors were hour-long walk-ins, often on mountaintops," he tells Benjamin B ("Battle Tested," page 70). "It was super windy, up to 40 miles an
hour. My memory of Scotland is having three layers of waterproof jackets on, with my hood
on and my back to the wind, and just watching hail come sideways across my body."
Danny Cohen, BSC and director Tom Hooper had already battled operatic complexities
several years ago while shooting a majestic musical adaptation of Les Misérables, so they were
probably somewhat relieved to collaborate on a provocative but intimate drama like The
Danish Girl - which still required them to finesse the nuances of framing and lighting the
transgender protagonist portrayed by Eddie Redmayne. In Mark Dillon's article ("Leading
Lady," page 82), Cohen's longtime gaffer, Paul McGeachan, offers a succinct summation of
the cinematographer's approach: "When Eddie was Einar, we lit him like you would a man.
But when he became Lili, we used big, soft sources and concentrated more on eye lights, as
you would with a leading lady."

Stephen Pizzello
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher
10

Photo by Owen Roizman, ASC.

Editor's Note



American Cinematographer - January 2016

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
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64a
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64b
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64d
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64e
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 64h
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Cover4
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