Panavision’s Dan Sasaki talks customizing lenses for Once Upon a Time In Hollywood

In my newest interview for Filmmaker Magazine, Panavision Senior Vice President of Optical Engineering Dan Sasaki talks being a second-generation member of the Panavision family, the storied history of the C Series anamorphics, and personalizing lenses for cinematographer Robert Richardson for use on Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.

Here’s an excerpt:

Filmmaker: Do you have a favorite set of lenses that you wish got rented out more?
Sasaki: Oddly enough, I cannot say that I have encountered a situation in which any particular series has gone unnoticed or underutilized. The amount of content [being made now] has created a bit of a renaissance in which the art of cinematography has evolved into an adventure that I have not seen the likes of in my history at Panavision. Cinematographers are figuring out ways to maintain their authorship and carry their intent throughout the entire imaging chain. That includes experimenting with every type of lens we carry.

The Shot Behind the Shot: Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019)

Behind the scenes of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

(Above, photo by Andrew Cooper) Shooting an action scene from a fictional Rick Dalton flick in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. The behind the scenes pic is featured in the August issue of American Cinematographer magazine, which includes interviews with DP Robert Richardson, colorist Yvan Lucas, and gaffer Ian Kincaid. The story is currently only accessible in the print edition, but if you’re interested in such things I highly recommend subscribing. A two-year digital subscription is only $50.

Here’s Richardson on the film – his sixth with Tarantino – from the American Cinematographer piece:

“It’s about mortality, about the recognition of when we slowly begin to fade from a place in the spotlight to somewhere else. [It’s also] a celebration of a time period in Hollywood that was shifting – as Quentin has said, it is his love letter Hollywood.”

Check out more in the Shot Behind the Shot series here.

Deep Fried Links – Wes Anderson, The Room, Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope and more

Wes Anderson collection
Deep Fried Links is a new feature I’m going to try to roll out weekly to share a few interesting nuggets from around the world wide web. This is never going to be the place you come for breaking news about Batman casting, but it will be a useful resource to discover stories you might have missed.

For the inaugural post, we’ve got new books about Wes Anderson and the cult film The Room, a NY Times interview with Carrie director Kimberly Pierce, movie lists courtesy of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez and an ode to the “O” face from Lars von Trier. Plus much more. (Continue reading) Continue Reading ›

Behind the Scenes: Marlon Brando and One-Eyed Jacks

OutofthePastBrando

The 1961 western One-Eyed Jacks marks the lone directorial effort of Marlon Brando. A morally bleak yet visually lush revenge yarn, the film is now considered a classic of the genre and counts among its admirers Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino.

But at the time of its release the movie was a costly albatross for Paramount and the beginning of a downward spiral of excess by Brando that tarnished his career to the point that Francis Ford Coppola had to jump through a myriad of hoops in order to cast Brando in The Godfather (1972).

One-Eyed Jacks‘ troubled production history includes the firing of screenwriter Sam Peckinpah and original director Stanley Kubrick. Brando took over as director following Kubrick’s departure and the film’s original 12 week shooting schedule and $1.8 million budget ultimately ballooned into a six-month shoot with a $6 million price tag.

Brando’s initial cut of the film ran nearly five hours. When Paramount requested substantial changes, Brando walked away from the movie and the studio sliced One-Eyed Jacks down to two hours and 21 minutes and altered the ending to a happier one.

Below is a collection of behind the scene stills from the film. The images come from a trio of sources – the blog Cinephilia and Beyond, the website Selvedgeyard.com and the blog Fifties Westerns. Toby Roan, the gentleman behind the blog Fifties Westerns, is also working on a book about Brando’s oater titled A Million Feet of Film: The Making of One-Eyed Jacks.
One Eyed Jacks 2 (#1)One Eyed Jacks (One Million Feet)One Eyed Jacks (Life Magazine) Continue Reading ›

Behind the Scenes: The Wild Bunch (1969) and Django Unchained (2012)

Ever wonder how actors in westerns manage to stay so still atop their horses for close-ups? This still from Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch (1969) provides the answer. Below, a behind the scenes shot from Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012) shows Leonardo DiCaprio atop a ladder to provide a horseback-level eyeline.

The Wild Bunch (1969)

Django Unchained (2012)

The Wild Bunch photo comes from the blog http://kinoimages.wordpress.com/, which is updated daily with film-centric images.