Roger Deakins on ‘Blade Runner 2049’, ‘The Goldfinch’ and ‘The Assassination of Jesse James’

     September 13, 2019

There is nothing I can say about Roger Deakins that hasn’t been said before. As one of the best cinematographers that has ever worked in the film industry, Deakins has over and over again delivered brilliant work that has inspired millions of filmmakers around the world. When you look at his resume, it’s impossible not be impressed. While I could go on and on about his entire filmography, here’s just a few things Deakins shot that you might have seen: Blade Runner 2049, Skyfall, Prisoners, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, True GritSicarioNo Country for Old MenO Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Big Lebowski.

roger-deakins-interview-blade-runner-2049-the-goldfinch-1There is a reason the Coen Brothers, Sam MendesDenis VilleneuveFrank Darabont, Andrew Dominik, and so many other amazing filmmakers want to work with him.

With director John Crowley’s The Goldfinch world premiering at this year’s Toronto International Film festival before opening in theaters this weekend, I recently sat down with Deakins for an extended interview at the Collider lounge at the Nordstrom Supper Suite at TIFF. If you haven’t seen the trailers, The Goldfinch is an adaptation of Donna Tartt’s  Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name. The film stars Ansel Elgort as a boy whose life was upended when his mother was killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when he was 13 years old. The Goldfinch also stars Nicole KidmanOakes Fegley, Aneurin BarnardFinn WolfhardSarah PaulsonLuke Wilson, and Jeffrey Wright.

During our wide-ranging conversation, Roger Deakins shared some great stories about making Blade Runner 2049, why he likes working on character-driven pieces, why he doesn’t shoot coverage, how often he sets up a shot and then realizes it’s just not working, why he wanted to work on The Goldfinch, what it was like filming the bombing sequence, why he’s looking forward to seeing The Lighthouse, why he wants Criterion to release the longer cut of The Assassination of Jesse James, working with Sam Mendes on 1917, what technology is coming that will help the moviemaking process, his thoughts on drones being used in movies, and so much more.

Check out what he had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.

nordstrom-supper-suite-tiff-2019-sliceWe also need to send a big thank you to our presenting sponsor Nordstrom Canada and supporting partners Marriott Bonvoy and Ciroc Vodka for supporting the Collider Lounge at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and helping to make these interviews happen.

For more of Collider’s TIFF 2019 coverage, click here.

Roger Deakins:

  • Was he aware so many people wanted him to win an Oscar?
  • Being able to use experimental lighting in Blade Runner 2049.
  • How much of Blade Runner 2049 was storyboarded?
  • Did he have a shot or two on Blade Runner 2049 that was extremely difficult to do?
  • His thoughts on a long single shot.
  • the-goldfinch-posterHow often has he set up a shot and then realized it’s just not working?
  • When was the last time he did extensive coverage on a movie?
  • How does he shoot two actors having a conversation?
  • Why did he want to work on The Goldfinch?
  • What was it like filming the bombing sequence?
  • Does he ever ask the director to film selected sequences at a certain point in the schedule?
  • How did they design the look of the different time periods in the film?
  • What kind of camera did he use on The Goldfinch?
  • What lenses does he use?
  • Is he looking forward to seeing The Lighthouse?
  • How he would love to see Criterion release the longer cut of The Assassination of Jesse James.
  • Is he a little disappointed he couldn’t shoot Dune?
  • How he was so happy Sam Mendes asked to him to do 1917.
  • Where are they in the post production process on 1917?
  • Is there a current franchise or filmmaker he wants to work with?
  • How he’s not a fan of the Mission Impossible
  • What is he going to do next?
  • What technology is coming that will help the moviemaking process?
  • What does he think about drones and using them in movies?

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