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To hear Robbie Ryan tell it, he was “a glorified camera operator” on “The Favourite.” Shot entirely in natural light, director Yorgos Lanthimos was against his cinematographer cluttering the set with flags, bounce or diffusion in an effort to shape the light. He also picked the lenses, knowing he would rely almost entirely on the extremely wide 10mm lens he experimented with while shooting “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.”
“At the end of the job, I said to Yorgos, ‘You should be shooting your own films, ’cause your an amazingly astute cinematographer in your own mind and I’m just kind of a glorified operator on this,’” said Ryan. “And I still kind of stick to that adage, but he’s going, ‘No, no. I like the way we worked.’”
Ryan - Ways - Partner - Lanthimos - Favourite
Ryan was in many ways a natural partner for Lanthimos on “The Favourite.” From his collaborations with director Andrea Arnold, Ryan had established himself as master of crafting expressive and evocative images working with natural light. And although known for his use handheld, Ryan’s camera moves has always had a verve that Lanthimos needed for a film he conceived in terms of movement.
“I always thought that there was gonna be a very particular physicality to it, and I didn’t know what that meant,” said Lanthimos. “I knew that one other element would have been the physicality of all these characters, and how they move around in a space and how their physicality brings them a more contemporary feel along with language and other elements that we used.”
Director - Rehearsals - Cast - Texture - Movement
The director relied on his unorthodox three-week rehearsals with the principal cast to discover what that “texture of the movement” was going to be. He also knew Ryan, who joined the rehearsal a number of times, would help him translate and execute it.
Beyond Ryan’s distinct skill set,...
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