हिंदी खबर
Mandy Walker (Image Source: Twitter)
Mandy Walker (Image Source: Twitter)

'Elvis' cinematographer talks about recreating King's Vegas showroom for Baz Luhrmann's biopic

ANI | Updated: Jul 03, 2022 00:39 IST

Washington [US], July 3 (ANI): Mandy Walker, the cinematographer for the Baz Luhrmann biopic 'Elvis,' spent hours analysing and studying historical video in order to accurately recreate specific frames and lighting adjustments for the legendary '68 Comeback Special of Elvis Presley.
According to Variety, her most proud achievement from the movie is Walker's set, which she designed to look exactly like the Vegas showroom at the International Hilton, where Presley had a residency. That set was enormous. We had to replicate a full-on concert lighting setup, according to Walker.
Walker and the film's gaffer briefly contemplated hiring concert lighting specialists to programme and order the lights, but she ultimately concluded they could handle the task herself. Walker then ordered the delivery of conventional single-lamp par can light to the Australian filming location.
"We reproduced it all right down to the follow spots and the backdrop colours," Walker said with pride. "There was a stills photographer, Alfred Wertheimer, who travelled with Elvis during the 1950s. I looked at his work and had all these images in the back of my mind. When you add in all these other elements -- the art department, costumes and hair and make-up -- they all come together in harmony to become the visual language of the film."

To finish the lighting, Walker said she "added modern LED lighting to smooth it out and make sure you could see Austin's face properly, or we'd use LED to complement what we had."
In preparation, Luhrmann and Walker talked extensively about the script as well as the characters' emotional arcs and how the director wished to convey them to the audience. Walker claims that Luhrmann frequently enjoyed keeping the camera in motion. However, the camera slowed down for scenes involving Presley and his mother Gladys (Helen Thomson). Walker said that the camera settles and centres Elvis and his mother in the frame throughout these passages. We attempt to make the depth of field shallower.
Walker was able to capture that intimacy by using the Alexa 65mm. It's the finest structure for intimacy, according to Walker, since you can focus on the depth of feeling to be really close to a character and not experience what's happening in the background. It is intended to draw attention to them.
As Elvis discovers he is stuck with manager Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks) and must remain in Vegas to complete the residency, things begin to take a dramatic turn at the climax of the movie. Walker significantly changed the lighting when his father and business manager Vernon (Richard Roxburgh) came to see him. "We hardly had any light on [Austin], and we wanted it darker to feel how closed in he was," she explained, as reported by Variety.
The Petzval lens, which has a focal length of up to 160mm, was essential for flashback sequences. One was made especially for the movie by Walker. "Especially with the morphine-related retelling of stories, we would use that to put the audience in the center, and the outside would drop out of focus. It would create that feeling of disorientation," Walker said. (ANI)