×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

James Muro

Crash

Key credits: “Open Range,” “Roll Bounce,” “Flicka”

Connection: “Since shooting (d.p. debut) ‘Open Range’ for Kevin Costner, I was sent lots of independent projects to consider, and ‘Crash’ came across my agent’s desk. A mutual friend who used to shoot for (‘Crash’ director) Paul Haggis told (Haggis) he should consider me. I was working with (‘Crash’ star) Thandie Newton on ‘The Chronicles of Riddick,’ and I had also worked with (producer-star) Don Cheadle in the past. Also, there is a multiracial family in the story, and I had two Korean babies, so I really wanted to do it. What I learned was, the more you bug the director and the people in power and explain your interest, the more they will respond to you. I told Paul I needed to do this movie, that I felt this connection. Eventually, he blessed me doing the job.”

Equipment: “We were one of the first films to use Kodak (Vision 2) 5229 stock. Night is what drove the look and style of the picture, so I was pleased to figure out that 5229 has such a smooth color palette, and was not as blue as (other nighttime stocks). There is not as much latitude on the high or bottom ends, but in the middle there is incredible color value. We shot with (Panavision) Millennium XL bodies in order to do a fair amount of handheld work and ramping, and we stumbled into some great looks using older-style, super-speed lenses from Panavision.”

Popular on Variety

Challenge: “Explaining our economics (to executives) and why we needed certain things was a huge stumbling block. We had budgeted only for a certain amount of film. But Paul is excellent at getting performances since he writes the material himself, and that meant we had to adjust, shoot more film and then explain later. The executives saw where we were going, though, and it worked out. That is also how we got to do a digital intermediate (at IO Film, North Hollywood), which I had to campaign extensively for.”

Setback and solution: “I learned a lot about dealing with labs, and how to get images consistent. They often print everything, not just selected takes, and that makes it harder to do quality control. We had a few problems like that, where we didn’t have good communication with the lab at night for telecine.”

Creative mantra: “We studied lots of films, and were influenced somewhat by ‘Traffic.’ But at the end of the day, Paul knew he would get his dialogue and performances, so he was very open to the cinematic approach we developed. I told him I thought we should go with the reality vibe, develop a unique take on nighttime in L.A., and go handheld most of the time. Paul storyboarded the car wreck and a few other things, but mainly we went handheld and let performances drive the cuts.”

Upcoming: Currently serving as co-d.p. on “X-Men 3,” alongside Dante Spinotti (who replaced Philippe Rousselot).

More Film

  • Spongebob Movie Trailer

    Watch the 'SpongeBob' Movie Super Bowl Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Paramount gave an early look at its “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” trailer before it debuts during the Super Bowl. The new clip has everything from fast cars and flashbacks to Snoop Dogg and Keanu Reeves. The animated movie sees SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star venture out of Bikini Bottom and head to [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris SAG AFRA PRESIDENT

    SAG-AFTRA Unveils Guidelines for Intimacy Coordinators

    SAG-AFTRA has unveiled the guidelines for intimacy coordinators who are on sets when union members’ work involves nudity and simulated sex. The union released “Standards and Protocols for the Use of Intimacy Coordinators” on Wednesday, six months after announcing that it would standardize the guidelines for such scenes. “SAG-AFTRA believes that implementation of these standards [...]

  • Scandinavia's NENT Group Exits Non-Scripted, Focuses

    Scandinavia's NENT Group Pulls Plug on Non-Scripted, Sets Sights on Drama and Film

    Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group), one of Scandinavia’s largest media groups, is set to pull out of non-scripted content, and focus on scripted drama and film production and distribution. The company is looking to bring a minority equity partner on board to bolster its scripted drama production business. As part of the reorg, NENT Group [...]

  • Goteborg Film Festival The Gynecological Cinema

    Anna Odell Puts Men in a Gynaecological Chair

    After William Castle’s “Percepto!” or John Waters’ “Odorama,” it seems like the time has come for Swedish provocateur Anna Odell’s “The Gynaecological Cinema Chair” – an interactive experience created specially for this year’s Göteborg Film Festival. A concept that’s more than just an attention-grabbing gimmick, however, as the director behind 2013’s “The Reunion” was quick [...]

  • The-Intruder

    Watch the Trailer from Just Announced Berlin Competition Entry ‘The Intruder’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID  —  Just minutes after the Berlinale confirmed on Wednesday its selection in main competition, the pedigree producers of Argentine Natalia Meta’s “The Intruder” (“El Prófugo”) have dropped a first teaser-trailer for what has been described as a “pyscho-sexual fantastic thriller.” They have also confirmed more details of one of the buzziest new titles from [...]

  • Roman Polanski’s ‘An Officer and a

    Roman Polanski’s ‘An Officer and a Spy’ Leads Cesar Awards Nominations

    Roman Polanski’s “An Officer and a Spy” is leading the race for the Cesar Awards, France’s top film honors, with 12 nominations, followed by Ladj Ly’s Oscar-nominated “Les Miserables.” “An Officer and a Spy” earned nominations for best film, director, actor (Jean Dujardin), cinematography, set design, costume and music, among others. Although he’s been at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content