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Cinematographer Robert Elswit has a ridiculously diverse body of work. He shot two Mission: Impossibles, multiple Paul Thomas Anderson films, and everything from critically acclaimed darlings like Nightcrawler to beloved cult trash like Trick or Treat. He’s a flexible professional, and that’s likely what drew Judd Apatow to Elswit when it came to tapping a DP for The King of Staten Island.
Whether he’s shooting Inherent Vice or Gigli, Elswit has an aptitude for grounding his camera with realistic locations and lighting, an approach that compliments The King of Staten Island‘s desire for naturalism as well as Apatow’s improvisation-focused directorial style. Below is an interview with Elswit courtesy of video essayist Thomas Flight on the influence of the Safdie brothers’ Good Time, the challenge of shooting in real Staten Island homes, and how he leveraged wide angles to convey character.
You can watch “How Robert Elswit Shot The King of Staten Island – Interview” here:
Who made this?
This video essay was created by Virginia-based filmmaker and video editor Thomas Flight, who runs a YouTube channel under the same name. You can follow Flight and check out his back catalog of video essays on YouTube here. You can follow him on Twitter here.
More Videos Like This
- Here’s another from Thomas Flight on the secret edits of 1917‘s “continuous take”
- Robert Elswit on There Will Be Blood, Punch Drunk Love, and his relationship with Paul Thomas Anderson
- A real classic from Thomas Flight: a breakdown of why, exactly, Bohemian Rhapsody’s editing is so bad, (shame on you Academy)
- Here’s Queue favorite CinemaTyler on how they created the naturalistic look of There Will Be Blood
- Elswit is the only cinematographer to shoot more than one Mission: Impossible film. This is technically a podcast episode and not a video but the rules are mine to break: here’s Elswit on how he shot Ghost Protocol and Rogue Nation
- Here’s Thomas Flight on how another Robert Elswit’s project, Nightcrawler, and how the film incriminates its viewers