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Emma Stone and Olivia Colman in The Favourite. Photo by Yorgos Lanthimos. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
by Matt Mulcahey
Columns - Directors - Interviews
in Columns, Directors, Interviews
In Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite, two determined women — Rachel Weisz’s refined but ruthless Duchess of Marlborough and Emma Stone’s desperate and cunning chambermaid Abigail — vie for the titular preferential position alongside the ill and melancholy Queen Anne. Anyone expecting a beautifully mounted but stuffy 18th century period piece has not seen a Yorgos Lanthimos movie.
Sense - Humor - Lanthimos - Lobster - Favourite
Employing the same absurdist sense of humor as Lanthimos’s The Lobster, The Favourite also imposes the director’s preferred set of aesthetic restrictions — namely wide angle lenses and shooting almost entirely with available light. Irish cinematographer Robbie Ryan (American Honey, Fish Tank), who was recently nominated for an American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement Award, spoke to Filmmaker about embracing Lanthimos’s singular sensibility, the difficulty of shaking off Yorgos’s style, and why he sleeps like a baby when shooting film.
Filmmaker: Rachel Weisz said in an interview that Yorgos would never talk about character motivation. How does that affect your job? For example, the final image of the film — and I don’t want to go into too much detail for people who haven’t seen it yet — but the final shot is a superimposition of two images. Do you need to understand the metaphor behind that superimposition?
Ryan - Question - Yorgos - Director - Motivations
Ryan: Interesting question. Yorgos is a director who wouldn’t necessarily let on what he’s thinking. I don’t know if he would even know himself. Those motivations are probably more based on things he’s instinctually coming out with. And to be honest with you, we never talked about [that final superimposition]. That was something that Yorgos and the editor [Yorgos Mavropsaridis] came up with.
Filmmaker: Just because of the setting, the extreme wide lenses, and...
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