How Cinematographer Used Light, Shadow to Help Tell Tale of Wu-Tang Clan in Hulu Series

Variety | 9/4/2019 | Valentina I. Valentini
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For Hulu’s “Wu-Tang: An American Saga,” cinematographer Gavin Kelly set out to capture the heroic journeys of the dozen young black men that Bobby Diggs, aka The RZA, assembled amid the early 1990s crack-cocaine epidemic in New York’s Staten Island to form one of the most important groups in hip-hop history.

“The look of the show for me was about the edges of light and shadow, where our characters’ conflicts, [losses] and victories take place in a high-stakes world,” says Kelly, who comes to the biopic from three seasons of FX’s “American Horror Story.” “Lighting-wise, rich contrast and layered color textures were central to the look and tone.”

Series - Sept - Story - Formation - Wu-Tang

The 10-episode series debuts Sept. 4 and tells the story of the formation of the Wu-Tang Clan, which transformed hip-hop and had a huge impact on music, arts and culture via the success not only of the group but of the solo work of its extensive membership. Created by The RZA and Alex Tse, the series is produced by Imagine Television and is based on two books by The RZA — “The Wu-Tang Manual” and “The Tao of Wu” — which explain Wu-Tang terms and delve into the group members’ inspirations and philosophies.

Kelly wove together scenes that moved from shadow into light, thematically and emotionally forming the heart of a project that’s part musical biopic, part crime drama, part family drama and part hero origin story. The series chronicles its characters’ journeys through many realities, both alone and collectively.

Dense - Murky - Color-bleeding

“I aimed for the dense, murky, color-bleeding...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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