Roman Osin

Pride & Prejudice

Key credits: “The Warrior,” “Mickybo and Me”

Connection: “Chance, good fortune and the hands of fate,” says Osin. He was prepping another film when he met “Pride & Prejudice” director Joe Wright. “I loved the script — it’s my favorite Jane Austen novel — but I had already committed. In the end, Joe’s patience and the stalling of the other film meant I could take on this prize project.”

Equipment: The film was shot on Arriflex cameras — the Arricam and the 435 Xtreme. Often two cameras were used simultaneously, sometimes three. The film was lensed using the relatively new 5218 high-speed stock from Kodak. “The choice,” says the d.p., “reflected the desire to make the film fresh and beautiful, but also a little gritty and earthy, avoiding the usual chocolate-box visual cliches.”

Challenge: “We talked about creating a world that felt real today, a late 1700s in 2005,” says Osin. That meant no static tableaux. “We wanted to paint the whole environment with the same brush, so that the cast could look in any direction while keeping a continuity to the quality and look of the film,” he adds. “The aim was to have the freedom and energy of a documentary, yet to be rich with the colors and textures of that period, while satisfying a cinematic language for a high-end, bright, romantic comedy.”

Setback and solution: “The changeability of the weather while shooting on location in England” created difficulties, says Osin. He cites one big scene where soldiers in brilliant red uniforms march into Meryton town: “We had planned to shoot that as a gloriously backlit late sunny afternoon, to accentuate the joy of the Bennet sisters and the gloriousness of these handsome men in their uniforms,” he says. “The choreography of actors, soldiers and camera staging were aligned, but the day turned into a gray, miserable mush. We scrambled like mad throwing up a bunch of big lights to save the day. But they were a pale imitation of nature’s best arclight, the sun.” During post, he worked to perk up the contrast and tease the colors in order to bring the scene closer to the original vision. “I think we barely scraped through,” he says.

Creative mantra: “My overall aesthetic, creative or philosophical approach to the body of work, is to not have one,” he says, “to approach each movie like it’s my first movie, with fresh, open, innocent eyes. And to respond to a given new script as a travel writer might rolling into a new town or a new culture.”

Upcoming: “I have a film in the pipeline for late 2006 set in the Arctic wastes with a previous collaborator,” Asif Kapadia (“The Warrior”). “But first a little holiday in the sun — and then I am again open for business. All offers will be considered, especially a Western!”

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