×
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.”

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

  • Murder Mystery

    Netflix Reveals Record-Breaking Stats for Sandler-Aniston 'Murder Mystery' Flick

    “Murder Mystery,” the latest Adam Sandler film to debut on Netflix, broke viewing records on the streaming service, the company revealed Tuesday. The film, which is co-headlined by Jennifer Aniston, was seen by close to 30.9 million households in its first 3 days, according to a tweet sent out Tuesday afternoon. 🚨ADAM SANDLER AND JENNIFER [...]

  • Agents Accuse Writers Guild of Refusing

    Writers Guild 'Plans to Respond' to Agents' Proposal as Frustration Mounts

    In a sign of increasing frustration, Hollywood agents have accused the Writers Guild of America of foot-dragging in the bitter two-month dispute. “It has become clear as more days pass that the Guild is not interested in making a deal,” said the negotiating committee for the agents in statement issued Tuesday. “Over the past year, [...]

  • Jermaine Fowler arrives at the 69th

    Jermaine Fowler to Co-Star With Eddie Murphy in 'Coming 2 America' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jermaine Fowler is set to play one of the leads opposite Eddie Murphy in Paramount’s sequel “Coming 2 America,” sources tell Variety. “Hustle & Flow” helmer Craig Brewer is on board to direct the pic with the studio planning an August 7, 2020 release. Plot details of “Coming 2 America” are unknown, as are the [...]

  • Henry Golding attends the Fragrance Foundation

    Henry Golding Starts Long House Shingle With 'Inheritance,' 'Harrington's Greatest Hits'

    “Crazy Rich Asians” star Henry Golding has started Long House Productions in partnership with China’s Starlight Cultural Entertainment Group with two features in the works. Golding’s first feature under the Long House banner is action adventure “The Inheritance,” based on an original story idea by Alistair Hudson and Golding. Hudson is writing the script for [...]

  • Max Landis Entertainment Weekly party, Comic-Con

    Max Landis Accused of Rape, Assault and Psychological Abuse

    Screenwriter Max Landis is facing allegations of sexual abuse and psychological manipulation from eight women who told their stories to the Daily Beast. Two of the women spoke on the record, and another five were identified by pseudonyms. An eighth women confirmed that she filed a police complaint against Landis in 2008, in which she [...]

  • Michael Fassbender'X-Men: Dark Phoenix' film premiere,

    Michael Fassbender to Produce, Star in Lionsgate Spy Thriller 'Malko'

    Michael Fassbender will produce and star in the Lionsgate spy thriller “Malko,” based on Gerard de Villiers’ S.A.S. series, with the studio planning to launch a franchise with the project. Eric Warren Singer, who was nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay for “American Hustle,” will write the screenplay. Joe Drake, chairman of [...]

  • American Film Institute Hires Susan Ruskin

    Susan Ruskin Appointed AFI Conservatory Dean

    The American Film Institute has named producer and educator Susan Ruskin as dean of the AFI Conservatory, where she will lead AFI’s graduate film-training program. Ruskin, who will also carry the title of executive VP, will report directly to Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO, the organization announced Tuesday. She replaces producer Richard Gladstein, who left [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content