In Production: Storaro to shoot Woody Allen’s Next Film

cinematography legends and woody allen

Woody Allen with Gordon Willis, Sven Nykvist, Harry Savides, Darius Khondji, Vilmos Zsigmond &  Vittorio Storaro

Vittorio Storaro is the latest addition to an impressive list of prestigious DPs Woody Allen has teamed up with throughout his career. Shooting begins this month in Los Angeles and New York on the 1930’s period piece, set to premiere in 2016.

Gordon Willis, Sven Nykvist, Harry Savides, Vilmos Zsigmond and Darius Khondji have each had a hand in the look of Woody Allen’s films throughout his career. Willis, often called the “Prince of darkness,” helped the prince of dark neurotic comedy establish his look – he shot eight of Allen’s most iconic films, including Annie Hall (1977), Manhattan (1979) and Stardust Memories (1980).

Allen’s most recent project with Khondji, Irrational Man, is still playing at a theater near you, and the rumors of his next release are already a’buzzin.  The film boasts an all-star cast befitting its ensemble director.

Jesse Eisenberg, Blake Lively, Bruce Willis, Kristen Stewart, Anna Camp, Paul Schneider, and many more are expected to don their depression-era best for this project.

 

Storaro-Style

Known for his striking use of color, Vittorio Storaro has lensed many visually stunning films for some pretty stellar directors. Francis Ford Coppola‘s Apocalypse Now (1979) influenced a generation of aspiring DPs and earned Storaro his first Academy Award for Cinematography.

Warren Beatty‘s epic, Reds (1981) won him a second Oscar, and their next movie together, Dick Tracy (1990) snagged a nomination that year.

Numerous collaborations with Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Tango in Paris (1972), The Conformist (1970), The Sheltering Sky (1990), The Last Emperor (1987) – Oscar number 3!) showcase Storaro’s signature style of visual storytelling.

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Colors of the Storaro Rainbow

A champion for the universality of light and color, Storaro is known for assigning a look or a hue a particular emotive motif, utilizing the visual throughout a film’s story arc.

Storaro’s work often exemplifies the storytelling role cinematography itself can play in cinema. Don’t we all know someone who caught the cinematography bug after watching something he shot? The guy even has a set of Rosco Gels named after him.

 

So what will a Storaro/Allen collabo look like?

Is it likely that the upcoming film will receive such careful aesthetic consideration?

This will be the first time the two collaborate as Director/DP, but they have worked together once before. Woody Allen starred in Alfonso Arau’s Picking Up The Pieces (2000), which Storaro shot.

In the dark comedy, (which technically looks fine/unremarkable) Woody Allen plays a butcher who kills and dismembers his cheating wife, confessing his crimes to the local priest (David Schwimmer). Hijinks ensue.

Woody Allen and David Schwimmer in PICKING UP THE PIECES (2000)

Shocker – the movie was panned! Variety called it “a tawdry misfire of the lowest order…” ouch… Needless to say, it was something of a departure from Storaro’s usual arty fare.

Maybe the two bonded on set and came up with some fabulous idea that’s been 15 years in the making. Maybe Storaro has been concocting a whole new set of gels for comedy. Who knows. We can’t wait to see some images from the new project, and welcome any tips from those in the know.

Watch this space for updates – and in the meantime, check out Woody Allen’s earlier films shot by some of the most talented cinematographers out there (along with the dearly departed – RIP guys. We’ll always turn off one more light for you just when we think it’s dark enough.) And treat your eyeballs to some Storaro classico…

Apocalypse Now Redux is currently available streaming on Amazon Prime & The Conformist is on Netflix, along with Gordon Willis’ Annie Hall, Sven Nyqvist’s Another Woman.

…or just make yourself some popcorn, get your nerd on and re-watch Visions of Light. No judgement.

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Shot on EPIC DRAGON: “We Are Still Here” at SXSW

“We Are Still Here”, shot on RED EPIC DRAGON by DP Karim Hussain, will premiere at South by Southwest as part of the festival’s Midnighters program. Written and Directed by Ted Geoghegan. Produced by Travis Stevens.

More on Deadline Hollywood.

Shot on EPIC M-X: Disenhof talks “Fishing Without Nets”

Fishing Without Nets

Fishing Without Nets has played at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews (Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Grantland). The film was shot by 3GR featured-filmmaker Alex Disenhof on RED Epic + RED Scarlet w/ Angenieux Optimo DP Zooms and Zeiss Super Speeds. Disenhof discussed the filming process with IndieWire as part of the “How I Shot That” series.

Which camera and lens did you use? We used the Red Epic and Red Scarlett cameras with Zeiss Super Speeds and Angenieux Optimo DP 16-42mm, and 30-80mm zooms.

What was the most difficult shot in your movie, and how did you pull it off? We had many difficult shots, as we often did ten minute long handheld takes looking 360 degrees. Possibly the most difficult of all was shooting handheld on a rickety wooden boat deep out at sea. I had to follow several ‘pirates’ as they grabbed their weapons and jumped overboard into small skiffs. We were almost 30 miles out in a very rough Indian Ocean, so it was extremely difficult to stay upright, especially with a camera on my shoulder. I was able to get all the angles I needed, bouncing off my gaffer and key grip as they pushed me one way and another to keep me on my feet as the boat swayed heavily from side to side. Additionally, my key grip had a body harness attached to me and tied me to the mast of the ship so that I wouldn’t fall overboard! It was like shooting on a roller-coaster that never stopped!

Who is your favorite cinematographer, and why? I have so many! If I had to name one, recently, I’ve really enjoyed the work of Sean Bobbitt, BSC. His handheld camerawork and simple, straightforward approach to lighting is something I really admire. Every movie he does is an immersive, textured and energetic visual experience.

What’s the best film school for an aspiring cinematographer? Working on set is the best film school! I went to Emerson College and thoroughly enjoyed my experience there, but the best way to learn cinematography is to shoot and watch other cinematographers shoot. Have an open mind, don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something and always try something new.

Do you think the shift from digital is good or bad? I think the shift from film to digital isn’t good or bad – it just is what it is, and it isn’t going to stop. I’ll use either when it is appropriate, and I enjoy shooting both for very different reasons. I think digital is a great tool, and should be treated as that – another tool in a filmmaker’s tool belt.

What advice do you have for cinematographers who want to get to Sundance? Seek out projects you believe in and find good collaborators. I wouldn’t be at Sundance if it weren’t for the people I worked with to make this project happen!

What’s the best career advice you received? First and foremost: it’s not a race. Enjoy the whole journey and be proud of yourself even when things aren’t going your way. Not everybody has the courage to follow their dreams.

Shot on EPIC M-X: House of Cards, Season 2

Shot on RED Epic. Netflix has announced plans to stream the second season of House of Cards in 4K.

Here’s an interesting article about DP Eigil Bryld’s run-n-gun approach to Season 1.