10 Cinematographers to Watch: Erik Wilson
Role model: “I’d like to try to be bit more like my wife and as good as Roger Deakins.”
Camera and film preferred: “I have less and less of a preference; it’s more and more about what fits the project. I don’t know what’s happening with Kodak, but hopefully it will be film till the end of this year or at least an option.”
Favorite tool: “My vibration isolator. It goes between the dolly and the head of the camera and takes out bumps. A very simple device.”
Representation: In the U.K.: Kate Kotcheff, Wizzo Features; and in the U.S.: Devin Mann, WME Entertainment
For Erik Wilson, personality trumps experience when it comes to working with novice filmmakers.
“I don’t think it necessarily comes down to first-time directors or experienced directors, just a style of working,” says the Norwegian-born d.p. “Paddy Considine, for instance” — his first-time director on “Tyrannosaur” — “has a strong sense of what needs to be done. The same with Richard Ayoade” — his director on “Submarine” — “who’s incredibly experienced and researched and is an encyclopedia of movies.”
On Bart Layton’s “The Imposter” — the story of a French con artist who passed himself off as a missing 13-year-old from Texas that played in the world documentary competition at Sundance — Wilson concentrated on the story’s re-enactments, versus the doc’s interviews, shot by Lynda Hall.
“What was interesting for me was that the whole structure of the film was there already there,” says Wilson. “It was already an amazing film without anything else. So it was quite liberating to shoot.”
Wilson — whose work will soon be seen in “Now Is Good,” starring Considine and Dakota Fanning, and, further on down the road, Ayoade’s “The Double,” with Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska — lists Nestor Almendros, Roger Deakins and Robert Elswit among his favorite d.p.’s, although the last one took some education.
“I remember when Roger Deakins was nominated for two movies,” he says, referring to 2008’s double nom for “The Assassination of Jesse James” and “No Country for Old Men,” “and Elswit won, and I said, ‘Oh, no, Elswit got it instead of Deakins!’ It was before I’d seen ‘There Will Be Blood.’ Then I saw it. And then I said, ‘Oh, OK, great, fine. He can win.'”