Trumbo cinematographer Jim Denault talks to The ASC’s Parallax View about shooting the 1940s period piece centering around the blacklisting of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo because he was a Communist.
Says Denault, “The war on Communism was a very new kind of war. Often it was a war on an idea rather than a war with shooting armies lined up against each other. The story has a certain timelessness, but we tried to shoot and color-correct it with a saturation that evokes Kodachrome from that time. We used slightly older lenses that were less sharp and a little less contrasty to make it seem a little less modern. We got to re-create some scenes from a movie set of that era, and that made me think about the limitations faced by cinematographers back then: slow film stocks and slow lenses. It was actually a lot of fun to work with hard light for a change. We’re so used to using soft light and what that does to portraiture. Lighting with a Fresnel, and seeing what it does to the quality and texture of an actor’s skin, was very gratifying in a way.”
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