"David's not a big fan of prep; he doesn't like to be pinned down too much. Before shooting began on this film, we only talked specifically about two scenes: the first involved the hallway in Fred Madison's house, and the other was the love scene in the desert. We discussed different levels of dark - dark, 'next door to dark,' gradations like that. To figure out exactly what he meant, I would reference things we had done together, or other work he had done. The colors David was most interested in were browns, yellows and reds. We wound up shooting a lot of the film with a chocolate #1 filter, which helped me get the look that David wanted."
"David feels that a murky black darkness is scarier than a completely black darkness; he wanted this particular hallway to be a slightly brownish black that would swallow characters up."
"In retrospect I don't think filming in black and white would have been the right way to go."
"There are many places in the movie where I would normally use a back light, but didn't. So you
have people kind of melding into the background. It's kind of an extension of when Fred walks down the hallway and disappears; it's keeping that feeling through the rest of the movie. In another film, a director would say, 'What about a back light? and 90-percent of the time I'd put it there, but not for this movie. That was kind of fun."
"Sometimes I did things that, in other films, would be looked at as a mistake. In this film, it may have been a mistake to begin with, but you embrace it! I took the look as far as I could. I've been watching David's work since Eraserhead, and had a feeling of images that he likes, both in watching his work and
talking with him."
"We talked about two or three scenes before we started shooting. Basically, we just talked about color and things like that. Once we rehearsed a scene, we discussed how dark he wanted to go. He would rehearse while I watched. Then he would go away as I lighted the scene. If he had any comments about the lighting, he would always mention them. Fortunately it wasn't too often, but it did happen. It's not something I dread. I kind of look forward to it."
"The thing I wanted to achieve was giving the feeling that anything could come out of the background, and to leave a certain question about what you're looking at. The film is working under the surface while you're watching it."
"Fred's story is certainly darker than Pete's. For Pete, we did a little more with weird compositions. To try to get inside his head, David kept throwing the focus out of scenes by pulling the lens in and out while we were shooting. I think we also backed off the color a little bit from the richness in the beginning of the movie. But we didn't want to drastically change looks because for most people who see it, the first connection is that these two guys are the same guy. Because of that, you don't want to distinguish the two sections of the film too much."
[Shooting the nighttime desert scenes] "The weather alternated between cold and wind, dusty and dirty. We had a lot of different lighting elements with us. The rig for Fred's drive at the end was pretty elaborate; we had a semi with two generators pulling us in order to have enough power to do what we needed. It was a pretty interesting image as it drove through the middle of nowhere, with everything around it black as night."
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