When “300” first screened for audiences, Larry Fong was disappointed with some of the feedback at first.
“A few people said they thought it was all CG, and that hurt,” he recalls. “But then I realized that since it had really been our goal to sort of blur this line between CG and live action as part of being true to the style of the graphic novel, these people had actually given us a big compliment.”
Helmer Zack Snyder told Fong that the look of “300” was going to be key, and the cinematographer was intrigued by the idea of blending so many different elements. “(Snyder) intended it to be a visual feast, and when he described in those terms, I began to get very excited about the possibilities,” says Fong.
That led to a lot of testing — film, exposures, blue- and greenscreen and makeup — until the look evolved into what Synder wanted.
Fong is now at work on the adaptation of another graphic novel, “Watchmen,” with Snyder. This time the approach will be different.
“Although ‘Watchmen’ is also based on a graphic novel, it is not going to have the image manipulated in the same way as ‘300,’ ” Fong says. “We are trying to push the envelope visually, but there isn’t an overall ‘look’ per se.”
Considering the visuals of “300,” it’s no surprise Fong draws inspiration from magic. “Instilling the audience with a sense of wonder is what magic and cinema have in common,” Fong says.
Fave tool: “I don’t really have one specific thing. The shoot sort of dictates what will work in that situation.”
Fave film stock: “Again, it all depends. I want to use what my director needs me to use in order to get the look we need to tell the story.”
Inspiration: “I’m inspired by magicians and the way they can lead your eye so that you believe you’re seeing a certain thing, even if it’s not really there.”
Up next: “Watchmen,” helmed by Zack Snyder
Rep: Julia Kole, Jacob & Kole Agency