Roger Deakins Calls ‘Interstellar’ Opening ‘One of the Most Beautiful Film Sequences’ in Years

"It's really brilliantly done and feels so precisely constructed," Deakins says to cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema.
Warner Bros.

Roger and James Deakins welcomed Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer and “Dunkirk” Oscar nominee Hoyte van Hoytema onto their “Team Deakins” podcast this week for a conversation that touches upon van Hoytema’s experience shooting with IMAX cameras, crafting weightless space sequences, and more. Part of the conversation finds Roger Deakins telling van Hoytema that the opening cornfield drone chase he shot with Nolan for “Interstellar” is one of the most beautiful film sequences of the last several years.

“How much was storyboarded before you shot?” Deakins asked van Hoytema about “Interstellar.” “The opening sequence in the cornfield and with the house is one of the most precise and beautiful sequences of film in the last however many years. It’s really brilliantly done and feels so precisely constructed. I wonder how much is storyboarded and how much is worked out with actors in the morning.”

“A lot of people say that about Chris that he has a precision to him in storytelling,” van Hoytema responded. “But one of the biggest things that I learned starting to work with him and one of the things I admire about him is that he is an extremely intuitive filmmaker. He is so perceptible to the energy that is being giving to you, like weather. People are always saying you’re always so lucky with the weather, but he’s never lucky with the weather. He just shoots in any weather that is handed to him on a plate.”

Van Hoytema continued, “There are few people that are so good at making something so adequate out of a situation that occurs in front of him. He is very untouched or intimidated by things that go wrong or change very extremely. He has strong ideas what he wants and is so secure in it that in those situations he can step away from being a micromanager.”

“Interstellar” was the first collaboration between Nolan and van Hoytema, a partnership that continued with “Dunkirk” and extends to the upcoming espionage epic “Tenet,” opening September 3 in U.S. theaters from Warner Bros. Head over to the “Team Deakins” podcast website to listen to the full conversation with van Hoytema.

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