Dod Mantle Talks Rush, In the Heart of the Sea

Versatile director Ron Howard has forged a collaboration with Oscar-winning cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire) in pushing his vision in new creative directions. And he couldn’t find two more disparate fact-based movies about obsession than the racing biopic Rush and the survivalist, high-seas drama, In the Heart of the Sea, both written by Peter Morgan and starring Chris Hemsworth, which they started shooting this month in England.

Rush, of course, is about the notorious ’70s Formula 1 rivalry between drivers James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl), while In the Heart of the Sea follows a 19th-century whaling expedition that turns into a nightmare, thanks to the infamous beast that inspired Herman Melville’s classic “Moby-Dick.”

In fact, with Rush, Dod Mantle introduced Howard to digital shooting and a more radical look for his first indie-financed movie in nearly 40 years. So he had to develop a way of creating his own unique production values. “And that meant we were dependent on certain archival material, which we would manipulate, ultimately, and take cars out and put our cars in.

“But to get that far, we had to go through hours and hours and hours of affordable archives, most of which was absolute rubbish. Or for me was too ugly or too unpleasant. We had to find the relevant races that provided me the beats of information and production values needed and were of a sufficient aesthetic and technical standard that could work, which was very hard in the ’70s. You’re talking not only 35mm but also 16mm, and telecine material where the negative was damaged. We took the best that we could and tested it and I took it through [various] processes with my own people and also the post house [Double Negative] to try and see what I could lift up and at what level.

“The aesthetic was a very painterly and, what I thought, an inspiring, visceral, sexy, color palette, and not the desaturated, golf ball grain, sadness of ’70s.”

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Cinematography, Clips, Movies, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production

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