For the better part of a decade now, Ryan Murphy has been innovating the way audiences look at small screen entertainment. As the creator of shows like Popular, Nip/Tuck, Glee,and The New Normal, Murphy has established a distinctive brand of filmmaking that’s faster, louder, and more attention-grabbing than its television contemporaries, and one that puts compelling visuals on par with addictive storylines. Case in point: American Horror Story, Murphy’s television show/miniseries hybrid that plays more like a horror anthology with a new theme each season. In season one it was Murder House, which was followed by Asylum and Coven. And this fall, Freak Show premiered with what Murphy describes as “the most terrifying clown of all time.”
Michael Goi, ASC, ISC has been there since nearly the beginning, shooting the second half of American Horror Story’s first season after first collaborating with Murphy on Glee. “American Horror Story had a visual style and approach for season one that was already established by the time I came on to it,” says Goi. “I didn’t make a lot of alterations to it, but in the last two or three episodes I started to veer in the direction that I felt like the material was taking me, and some of that approach is what’s reflected in season two, Asylum, where you’re dealing with an atmosphere that was very crazed. And I think the camerawork and the lighting reflected that a lot.”
Among his many iconic credits as a cinematographer, John Lindley, ASC counts memorable films like Father of the Bride, Mr. Brooks, Pleasantville, You’ve Got Mail, Sleeping with the Enemy, and Field of Dreams in his repertoire. His most recent endeavor is St. Vincent, in which Bill Murray plays a gone-to-seed war veteran who has an influence on a young boy who lives next door. That influence is unwelcome to the boy’s recently divorced parents.
There’s comedy in that conflict, and eventually, an unlikely friendship develops. The cast also includes Melissa McCarthy.
We’re entering that haunted time of year, and trust us, it’s spooky out there. Both on television and in theaters, productions are being sharpened to shock and unsettle viewers. As part of their horror formula, American Horror Story, Dracula Untold, and The Walking Deadall use film to get the mood just right.
“On our show, we focus on the quality of the look,” says Tom Luse, producer of The Walking Dead. “We can shoot a zombie in bright daylight on film and it looks amazing. We also find that shooting 16mm is extremely quick. We have the flexibility to move our cameras and adjust very quickly under extreme situations in terms of heat, humidity and pretty hard physical situations.”
Though he didn’t know it at the time, producer Tom Luse began preparing for a career in show business in college, when he was charged with the enviable task of popping the popcorn at an art house cinema in his hometown of Atlanta. “I liked movies, but it wasn’t something I had planned on going into,” explains the EMMY®-nominated producer. “But later, in graduate school, I had the opportunity to study film and ended up getting a degree in Communications.”
While these days it’s being an executive producer on The Walking Dead that keeps Luse busy (he’s been with the show since the very beginning), he has dabbled in a variety of job titles over the years. “I wanted to be a technician originally, and ended up working in the camera department as a grip,” Luse recalls. “I found that my skills were really in organizing things and thinking ahead, which eventually led me into location management, then into production management, and then into producing.” As he readied for the fifth season of The Walking Dead, Luse spoke with us about lighting a post-apocalyptic universe, the cost of time, and why zombies look better on film.
Mathematician, cryptanalyst and computer science pioneer Alan Turing was tasked by British intelligence during World War II to break the Germans’ nearly impenetrable message coding system – the Enigma machine. His success enabled the Allies to turn the war tide, but tragedy befell Turing and he ultimately committed suicide at the age of 41.
The Weinstein Company brings Turing’s complex story to the screen in The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and featuring Keira Knightley, Mark Strong and Matthew Goode. To capture the visuals, director Morten Tyldum selected Óscar Faura (The Orphanage, Anna) based on his photography of the 2012 Thailand tsunami tale The Impossible.
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