Paul Thomas Anderson Testing Out 65mm Cameras For New Film Which Won't Be Shot By Robert Elswit

by Cory Everett
April 23, 2011 9:27 AM
17 Comments
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When it comes to the next Paul Thomas Anderson film, all news is mysterious news. While we're still not sure exactly which of Anderson's films might be going into production first, it had looked like it might be his Thomas Pynchon adaptation "Inherent Vice" this fall, but recent casting speculation leads us to believe it may be the untitled religious drama sometimes referred to as "The Master," which is now possibly to co-star Joaquin Phoenix alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman. The next little morsel of news comes from reliable fansite Cigarettes & Red Vines. The site received a tip from a reader that indicates that Anderson has been shooting tests with and operating a 65mm camera, which the site also points out, is the same camera used by Stanley Kubrick on "2001: A Space Odyssey." Anderson has always been a big advocate of shooting on film and if this were to happen it would be a cinephile's wet dream.

While it's likely Anderson is indulging his inner Kubrick, the reader suggests Anderson may have been inspired more recently by cinematographer Wally Pfister and director Christopher Nolan's use of the format on "The Dark Knight" and "Inception." Pretty much everyone who saw "The Dark Knight" in IMAX had the same jaw-dropping reaction to the scenes filmed in the large format so it's not entirely unreasonable. The aerial shots and action sequences looked so good (and so crystal clear) it's actually frustrating to see so many other films fake the format by blowing up 35mm and calling it "IMAX" because the quality just isn't there (We're looking at you, pretty much every other tentpole.) "Inception" did not shoot in IMAX (due to the size and unwieldy nature of the IMAX cameras) but was instead filmed with much more manageable 65mm cameras, which is the best possible quality for film outside of IMAX. The site points out that "Nolan shot 65mm in a square, IMAX format whereas Kubrick kept the format at 2:35.1 to contain as much detail as possible for the optical effects."

While it's not clear whether he might be using it for "The Master" or "Inherent Vice," it's possible (though unlikely) he could be using it for some other purpose entirely. (Home movies? Superbowl commercial? Nature doc?) The site mentions they received an image to corroborate this story but due to the secretive nature of the information are unable to publish it. (They do include a hilarious drawing/recreation in its place.) The report also suggests that for the first time, Anderson's next film will not be shot by regular cinematographer Robert Elswit though it's not clear yet who might replace him. Elswit's work has been such an integral (and beautiful) part of Anderson's films that we'll be sad to see him go but hopefully they can collaborate again on whichever project comes after.

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17 Comments

  • annai | September 22, 2012 12:30 AMReply

    Elswit is jewish, non-practicing with a devote Christian wife.

  • jim | April 25, 2011 6:31 AMReply

    Elswit is filming the Bourne Legacy next.

  • Surf Duddy | April 25, 2011 4:43 AMReply

    Elswit is a Jew.

  • Raj Himself | April 25, 2011 1:55 AMReply

    So if not Elswit who would you guys like to see behind the camera? I guess Roger Deakins is the obvious answer (why not?) and maybe Pfister as well due to the possible use of 65mm. I wouldn't mind seeing young gun Greig Fraser get in there.

  • gonad | April 24, 2011 10:18 AMReply

    Pretty cool news. 65mm does indeed look great, I'm surprised more filmmakers don't use it. Ken Brannaghs Hamlet was the last to use 65mm entirely I think, nowadays it mostly only gets used for special effects shot. I don't like Nolans use of IMAX 65mm though -- or rather the way he sticks with its 1.44 aspect ratio. Very jarring to see an aspect ratio change from 2.35 to 1.44 during a film.

  • Gabe Toro | April 24, 2011 6:32 AMReply

    I am Robert Elswit.

  • Abner | April 24, 2011 6:02 AMReply

    "...which is now possibly to co-star Joaquin Phoenix..."

  • Jessica Kiang | April 24, 2011 3:19 AMReply

    Mistake excised, apologies to everyone - especially Mr Elswit.

  • actionman | April 24, 2011 2:41 AMReply

    so what's the real reason why PTA and Elswit aren't working together?

  • Nappy | April 24, 2011 2:25 AMReply

    I was reading this and was caught totally off guard with statement that "Elswit is a scientologist". Glad to see I wasn't the only one.

  • Sean | April 24, 2011 2:10 AMReply

    Elswitt is a scientologist? So? Isn't PTA a Christian?

  • clancy | April 24, 2011 1:42 AMReply

    "Elswit is a Scientologist"

    more disinformation from The Playlist.

    We can guarantee that rumor will be around without fail for the next 10 years, argued and insisted on.

  • andrej | April 23, 2011 12:23 PMReply

    according to my info his wife was a christian scientist: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGlkJmr6dfc

  • Cory Everett | April 23, 2011 11:48 AMReply

    Shit, you're right. Thanks for the fix guys.

  • hmm | April 23, 2011 11:46 AMReply

    L. Ron is a false prophet and god is a superstition!

  • Pubrick | April 23, 2011 11:30 AMReply

    Elswit is a Christian Scientist not a Scientologist.

  • edward | April 23, 2011 11:16 AMReply

    where did you guys read elswit's a scientologist?

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