Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski on ‘The Martian’, ‘Alien: Covenant’ and ‘Dark City’

     December 31, 2015

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While we post a lot of interviews with actors, directors, and producers, the staff and I decided it’s time to make a point to talk with people who don’t necessarily get the spotlight. The fact is that a movie is only as good as its “below the line” crew, and all of us at Collider have long felt that they aren’t given enough credit. To try and rectify this, you can look forward to more interviews with costume designers, production designers, composers, editors, cinematographers, and other craftspeople that work to bring these stories to life.

In this spirit, I recently sat down with The Martian cinematographer Dariusz Wolski. Unlike most interviews where we tend to focus on one film, I used my time with him to talk about the job as a whole, and what goes on behind the scenes. Of course we also talked about making The Martian, collaborating with Ridley Scott, how he got his big break, if he might use IMAX cameras on Alien: Covenant, making the Keith Richards doc with director Johnny Depp, what he remembers about the making of Dark City, and so much more. If you’re interested in what it’s really like to be a director of photography on a big movie, you’re going to love this conversation. As usual I’ve listed what we talked about below the video.

The Martian will arrive on Blu-ray/DVD January 12th. You can click here for all our previous coverage on the film, including clips, our review, images, trailers, and more.


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Dariusz Wolski:

  • When he looks back on the making of the film, is there a day or two that he’ll always remember?
  • the-martian-ridley-scott

    Image via 20th Century Fox

    When working with Ridley Scott, how much is he relying on storyboards and pre-vis and how much is finding it in the moment?

  • Typically speaking, how many takes does he tend to shoot?
  • What camera does he currently like to use, or does it depend on the project?
  • What camera did he use on The Martian?
  • Has he used all the digital cameras?
  • What was it like making the Keith Richards doc with director Johnny Depp?
  • What do you remember about the making of Dark City?
  • What’s the biggest misconception people have about what he does?
  • How soon is he on a movie and when does he leave?
  • What is the collaboration process typically like with a director and, more specifically, with Ridley Scott?

  • the-martian-movie-image-control-room

    Image via 20th Century Fox

    Can he compare different directors that he’s worked with that have different tendencies?

  • Is there any other department he has to collaborate with?
  • What’s the hardest part of his job and the most rewarding?
  • When did he decide he wanted to be a cinematographer?
  • What did he have to do to train to become a cinematographer?
  • How did he break into the industry?
  • Who are some of the other artisans in his field that he really admires?
  • How has his process changed throughout his career?
  • What’s the best advice he ever got about being a cinematographer?
  • From when he got involved to what people are seeing on screen, how has the film changed?
  • What has he seen technology-wise that really impressed him in terms of digital?
  • Is there any talk about using IMAX cameras for Alien: Covenant?

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