After teaming with Christopher Nolan on five films, cinematographer Wally Pfister thought they had shot it all, from the tops of Hong Kong skyscrapers to the Alaskan tundra. Then came the rotating hallway of their sixth collaboration, Nolan’s “Inception.”
“Before I could shoot it, Chris made me go on it first,” Pfister explains of the vivid set piece featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. “The crew all did a couple of rotations. It helped us understand what Joe was going to go through.”
For Pfister, it felt like jumping inside a washing machine during the spin cycle, leaving the New York native with a strange feeling of vertigo.
“All it’s designed to do is create an illusion,” says Pfister, who is in negotiations to shoot Nolan’s next “Batman” pic. “But I loved the fact that it was something really original and unique on the screen. When I watched it with an audience, people applauded at the end of the scene.”
Pfister and Nolan met in 1998 at the Sundance Film Festival.”Our collaboration has gotten stronger and stronger,” Pfister says. “Now we can do more interesting work but also more efficient work.”