Saturday, April 23, 2011

Exclusive: PT Anderson Shooting on 65mm, Without Elswit?

It seems as though one of the two projects we keep hearing rumblings about is getting substantially closer to coming to life. A photo, we unfortunately cannot publish, was sent to us showing PTA shooting tests and operating a 65mm camera used by Kubrick on 2001: A Space Odyssey on the backlot of a place we also cannot mention. Fear not, I have re-created the photo here to whet your appetite:

The e-mailer suggests that perhaps Paul was inspired by Nolan/Pfister's usage of the format on The Dark Knight & Inception. It's worth noting, though, that Nolan shot 65mm in a square, IMAX format whereas Kubrick kept the format at 2:35.1 to contain as much detail as possible for the optical effects. (thanks JZ) The last line of the e-mail also gloomily claims that whichever film Paul is shooting camera/format tests for will not be shot by Robert Elswit. More as it comes...

As always, you can get the latest news on Cigarettes & Red Vines on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. head shaved? he is working on a new film!!!!

  2. I love the 65mm format. Exciting!

  3. slightly bummed Elswit is not lensing it, but so glad PTA is sticking with film.
    Film is so beautiful. Digital sucks. Period.

  4. Okay. Someone please confirm. Is it true that Elswit is a Scientologist?

  5. Oh this is great news. I hope its the master with phoenix. Please leave us some clues!

  6. WOW. This is huge news. Shooting on a completely different format?! One of the striking things about PTA's films is the shared stylistic flourishes of all his films (such as the blue flare). This would be a big change and might mark a new PTA period. I mean, I'm sure I'll still be able to tell it's a PTA film with the sound muted, but still...

    Also, using an epic format like 65mm on a what is essentially a character study (The Master) is a very strange (and exciting) move. I guess it could be for Inherent Vice, but it would make a bit more sense with The Master since there is no more grandiose a claim than those that religion make.

    ALSO, what is with PTA following up his most Kubrickian movie (TWBB) with more Kubrickian choices? He did the same with PDL in regards to music. (Aren't PDL's and TWBB's scores similar to anyone else?)

    Exciting, all very exciting!!!

  7. Does the photo and/or backlot location give away which film is going first or expose your source or something else? Why so mysterious?

    Anyway, good on ya for landing an exclusive! Hope there is more to come.

  8. aspect ratio of 2001 was 2.20:1, not 2.35:1

  9. Elswit is not a Scientologist. I believe he is a Christian Scientist.

  10. great and horrifying at the same time. I remember rumblings that The Master would be digital, i'm glad they aren't just going 180 on that, they are going 65mm, which is an amazing notion...

    but no Elswit??? I got this feeling when Jon Brion didn't re-team with Paul for There Will Be Blood, and that still turned out to be a fruitful new collaboration. Still, a PTA movie without the gorgeous lens of Elswit is a large pill for a fan to swallow. Still, I believe in Paul either way.

  11. So if not Elswit who would you guys like to see behind the camera? I guess Roger Deakins is the obvious answer (why not?) and maybe Pfister as well due to the possible use of 65mm. I wouldn't mind seeing young gun Greig Fraser get in there.

  12. "Kubrick kept the format at 2:35.1 to contain as much detail as possible for the optical effects."

    I think you have it backwards. 2.2:1 is only 5 perforations per frame. IMAX runs sideways through the camera and is 15 perforations per frame. The IMAX frame is 3X larger than the panavision frame even though it's on the same stock. So 3X more detail. IMAX isn't a crop of the panavision frame.

    Kubric really didn't have the option to shoot IMAX. He did shoot 65 rather than 35 for the optical effects advantage though.

  13. Elswit is working on Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol and prepping The Bourne Legacy. The name of the cinematographer with whom PTA is working now is not Elswit, indeed, but Mihai Malaimare. I believe he is romanian. He shot Youth Without Youth and Tetro for Francis Ford Coppola. Just finished, also for Coppola, Twixt Now and Sunrise. Last summer he also shot David Anspaugh's Little Red Wagon. He is indeeed a superb cinematographer and loves film, not digital. We'll be hearing more of his work in the years to come, you'll see. ;)

  14. I've heard a rumour about Savides as DOP for this PTA project. Nothing about Deakins, though.

  15. If it's true and Malaimare is the DP then that is pretty exciting news - he seems uber talented. Thanks heaps.

  16. PTA is too important and talented a filmmaker to be aping anyone. The worst part of seeing TWBB were the clumsy and embarrassingly obvious 2001 references right from the top. Yes, Kubrick shot 2001 with a Panavision 70, but so did Robert Wise for The Sound of Music - and dozens of other directors. No one need be compared to Kubrick simply to fulfill some kind of monastic conceit of filmic discipline. Find another way of describing PTA. Hopefully, he himself will take some self-inventory in this regard and trust his own talent - something he has in abundance.

  17. If it's true that Mihai Malaimare is replacing Elswit, then that lightens my disappointment a bit. I loved Youth Without Youth, and there were some definitely great images in that movie. I still hope it's Elswit though. As for other hopefuls, I haven't seen anybody mention Vittorio Storaro (he's still alive, right?) He's had some duds, but when he's with a good director he's amazing. Apocalypse Now is the most beautifully shot movie ever. EVER.

  18. Can you post the picture now because we know what the project is?

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