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Cinematographer James Hawkinson on Finding the Heightened Horror in ‘Hannibal’

Hannibal cinematographer James Hawkinson talks to HitFix about his stylized, lauded shooting style for the NBC show, for which he shot every episode.

“As the director of photography, keeping the aesthetics consistent from director to director, I have to protect and justify the aesthetics of the show,” he says. “Say someone has a vision of a dead person and I’ll be asked by a guest director to put smoke and backlight. And I’ll argue that the twins in The Shining – ‘Did you see them standing there with smoke and backlight?’ Dude, as soon as you do it becomes hokey and it becomes a B-movie and it’s cliché. So the horror in Hannibal is more based in some sort of reality. Yes it’s heightened but it’s still like The Shining in that there’s nothing fantastical about it.”