“Like Most Looks in Film, It’s a Bit of a Recipe”: Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel on Using Varying Cameras, Lenses and LUTs on Bohemian Rhapsody

Filmmaker Magazine | 12/21/2018 | Matt Mulcahey
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L-R: Gwilym Lee (Brian May), Rami Malek (Freddie Mercury), and Joe Mazzello (John Deacon) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

by Matt Mulcahey

Cinematographers - Columns - Interviews

in Cinematographers, Columns, Interviews

If you’re a fan of the music of the 1970s, your favorite artist may soon have a biopic on the way. An Elton John flick is already en route. We’ll probably get a Bowie movie. Maybe Zeppelin. I’m crossing my fingers for The Jim Croce Story.

Rhapsody - Onslaught - Queen - Biopic - Worldwide

You can thank Bohemian Rhapsody for that potential onslaught. The Queen biopic has grossed more than $600 million worldwide so far on a budget of roughly $50 million. With the film still out in theaters, cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel (Drive, Three Kings, The Usual Suspects) spoke to Filmmaker about recreating Queen’s epic concert lighting, using different lenses and LUTs to capture different periods, and his early days working with John Sayles and Haskell Wexler.

Filmmaker: I didn’t realize until looking at your credits that you had this career shooting 2nd Unit in the 1980s on movies like Platoon and Wall Street. Any stories you can share about working on Matewan (1987) with John Sayles and cinematographer Haskell Wexler?

Sigel - John - Sayles - Filmmaker - Years

Sigel: John Sayles is an amazing filmmaker. He’s a great human being too. For so many years he’s made these movies for very humble budgets that were done with complete integrity. To work with him and Haskell, those are two legendary artists. At that point I had shot [the 1985 Nicaragua set drama] Latino for Haskell so I knew him pretty well. It was interesting to watch the two of them work. John was very clear about what he wanted. He had it all in his head. I think that Haskell, who really was kind of a frustrated director as well as a shooter, often found that hard...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Filmmaker Magazine
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