I Know This Much Is True cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes on shooting 600 hours of 35mm film for the new HBO series
I Know This Much Is True is a decades-spanning, tragedy-laden emotional ravaging and then catharsis about coming to terms with the shortcomings of ourselves, our families and country, and the healing power of acceptance and forgiveness. The story centers around a pair of twins—Thomas, a frequently institutionalized paranoid schizophrenic, and Dominick, a house painter struggling with the burden of being his brother’s keeper. Both are played by Mark Ruffalo, who took a six-week break in the middle of production to put on 30 pounds to transform into Thomas.
I spoke to cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Manchester by the Sea) for Filmmaker Magazine about pulling off Ruffalo’s “twinning,” planning as the enemy of inspiration, and winning over director Derek Cianfrance to the ways of the zoom lens.