“If You Can Do a Scene in One or Two Shots, What’s Better than That?”: DP Conor Murphy on Shooting Mickey and the Bear

Filmmaker Magazine | 12/8/2019 | Daniel Eagan
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by Daniel Eagan

Director of photography Conor Murphy flew directly from Kazakhstan, where he was finishing a project, to Anaconda, Montana, the location for Mickey and the Bear, currently in release from Utopia. He had four weeks prep with writer and director Annabelle Attanasio before shooting her debut feature.

Attanasio - Research - Residents - Anaconda - Mining

Based on Attanasio’s research into the residents of Anaconda, a mining town fallen on hard times, Mickey and the Bear follows high school senior Mickey Peck (played by newcomer Camila Morrone) as she tries to figure out her future. Caring for her father Hank (James Badge Dale), an armed forces veteran suffering from drug dependency, could thwart her dreams of leaving town for college on the West Coast.

Filmmaker spoke with Murphy in New York prior to his appearance at Camerimage in Toruń, Poland.

Filmmaker - Did - Annabelle - Attanasio - Project

Filmmaker: Did you know Annabelle Attanasio before taking on this project?

Conor Murphy: No, I had never met her. I knew Lizzie Shapiro, her producer, and she put us in touch. It was kind of a last-minute thing, we talked on the phone and really connected. We met in Montana for prep. We had planned for five weeks, but I had to finish in Kazakhstan, so we had just under four weeks.

Locations - Film - Hundreds - Hundreds - Storyboards

We scouted locations and storyboarded the entire film, hundreds and hundreds of storyboards crossed out, redrawn, illegible to anyone except Annie and me. We tried to live out the film before we staffed.

Filmmaker: Was Montana a big shift from Kazakhstan?

Murphy - Beautiful - Hills - Kazakhstan - Summer

Murphy: Not as much as you might expect. They both have beautiful, rolling hills. I was in Kazakhstan during the summer, so it was warm. It was the end of the summer in Montana, and by the end of the shoot it was freezing, bitter cold. I grew up in the Northeast, so I was fine, but the actors...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Filmmaker Magazine
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