Pic of the Day: On the set of The Professional (1994)

natalie-portman-behind-the-scenes-of-luc-bessons-the-professional

An Arriflex 35 BL4 sits perched behind Natalie Portman (making her film debut) on the set of Luc Besson’s The Professional (1994).

As a little added bonus, here’s Gary Oldman discussing one of his many unhinged line readings from the movie, via a Playboy interview:

“What’s funny is that the line (where I scream “Everyone!”) was a joke and now it’s become iconic. I just did it one take to make the director, Luc Besson, laugh. The previous takes, I’d just gone, “Bring me everyone,” in a regular voice. But then I cued the sound guy to slip off his headphones, and I shouted as loud as I could. That’s the one they kept in the movie. When people approach me on the street, that’s the line they most often say. It’s either that or something from True Romance.”

Shot Behind the Shot: The Princess Bride (1987)

(Above) The Man in Black reveals his ambidextrous swordsmanship in 1987’s The Princess Bride. (Pic on the left via Behind the Clapperboard)

Here’s Mandy Patinkin on preparing for the scene, from an Entertainment Weekly oral history:

I knew that my job was to become the world’s greatest swordfighter. I trained for about two months in New York and then we went to London and Cary and I trained every day that we weren’t shooting for four months. There were no stunt men involved in any of the sword fights, except for one flip in the air.

A few more nuggets from that same oral history….

ROB REINER, director: I read the book when I was in my 20s, because I was a huge William Goldman fan. Then, after I had made a couple of pictures, Spinal Tap and The Sure Thing, I started thinking of The Princess Bride. I very naively thought I could make a movie, then I discovered that Francois Truffaut had tried and Norman Jewison had tried and Robert Redford had been involved — one after the other. No [studio] wanted to make a movie of The Princess Bride; nobody was interested in it. We kept tearing the budget down, I had to try to sell foreign rights and video rights, I had to cut my salary, I had to cut the cast’s salaries. It was crazy. I think we had, like, $16 million dollars, which even at the time wasn’t very much. In the script it said “the army of Florin” — I had seven people in the army of Florin.

WILLIAM GOLDMAN, writer of The Princess Bride novel (published in 1973) and screenplay: I had two little daughters, I think they were 7 and 4 at the time, and I said, “I’ll write you a story. What do you want it to be about?” One of them said “a princess” and the other one said “a bride.” I said, “That’ll be the title.”

Set stills from David Lowery’s A Ghost Story

Banner photo courtesy of A Ghost Story cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo

Put together a few behind the scene pics from A Ghost Story, a rumination on mortality, time, and humanity’s place in the cosmos from writer/director David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon).

Check out this interview I did with the movie’s cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo for Filmmaker Magazine. I also highly recommend American Cinematographer Magazine’s feature on the film from the August issue.

Tech Info
Aspect Ratio: 1.33
Camera: Arri Alexa Mini (2.8K ProRes, 4:3 mode)
Lenses: Panavision Super Speeds and Ultra Speeds, Panavision Primo Zooms

John Landis and Rick Baker on the set of Schlock (1973)

(Above) A monkey-masked John Landis guides the action on the set of his directorial debut Schlock (1973). Landis, who also wrote the script and played the simian lead, was only 21-years-old at the time the monster movie spoof was shot in 1971. Makeup effects master Rick Baker, seen standing to the left of Landis, was only 20. Baker had the budget for just one ape suit, part of which was constructed by gluing hair and a rubber chest piece onto a pair of long johns worn by Landis.

Here’s Baker’s recollection of Schlock, from Anthony Timpone’s book Men, Makeup & Monsters: Hollywood’s Masters of Illusion and FX.

“We shot in Agoura during a heat wave, like a hundred and twenty degrees. And John was sweating like mad – the hair was dripping wet and just kept falling off. We lost about half the hair on the first day! And it took a while to lay all that hair on there. So we started taking the suit off him between takes if we could, and fortunately it cooled down some. It was an experience.” – Rick Baker

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Pic of the Day: Behind the scenes of Touch of Evil (1958)

Orson Welles on the set of Touch of Evil

Orson Welles and cinematographer Russell Metty on the set of Touch of Evil (1958) – the first film Welles had directed in the United States in nearly a decade following 1948’s Macbeth. An Oscar winner for lensing Kubrick’s Spartacus, Metty also shot Bringing Up Baby for Howard Hawks, The Misfits for John Huston, and Magnificent Obsession, All That Heaven Allows, and Written on The Wind for Douglas Sirk.

Shot Behind the Shot: Key Largo (1948)

Behind the scenes of Key Largo

A set-up on John Huston’s 1948 noir Key Largo for a scene in which a centenarian Native American woman bums a cigarette off Humphrey Bogart’s vagabond ex-army captain. The film marked the final of four pairings of Bogart and wife Lauren Bacall.

Released the same year as Huston and Bogart’s Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Key Largo finds Bogart and gangster Edward G. Robinson squaring off in a Florida hotel besieged by a hurricane.