- Feb 8, 1999
- Real Name
- Robert Harris
Based upon the premise that it was BBC / PBS, and based upon the historical novels by Hilary Mantel -- novels of which I was aware, but had not read.
So basically, I went in blind.
Two minutes into the first episode (of six), I knew I was seeing something special, and the story had not even begun.
I was viewing a night sequence, as photographed by British cinematographer Gavin Finney. And I was viewing, as I usually begin with TV/Cable fare, on an LCD flat panel, the way that the rest of the world sees these broadcasts.
Those who know me, and my predilection for quality cinematography, will understand that I felt I was seeing some very special, as I turned off the episode almost immediately, and began again...
What had immediately caught my attention were two things. First, I had the feeling that I was viewing something very organic and natural. Second, I was viewing a night exterior, that was fully enveloped in what appeared to be a wonderfully natural velvety darkness. But a darkness into which one could see incredible shadow detail.
Two episodes in, after confirming that not only was I seeing something special as far as the cinematographic concept was concerned, but also an extremely natural feel from the actors -- led by Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis and Claire Foy.
I was watching the Tudor Court, some five centuries past, with actors playing the roles of Cromwell, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn -- but it did not appears, as historical films often do, to have the actors spouting important sounding dialogue, as if they knew, as they were speaking that every single word might change the fate of humanity.
These were people in their seemingly natural state, half a millennium ago.
I was so taken the Mr. Finney's work (and that of his crew), that I felt the need to contact him, via his representation, hoping that he might have a moment to respond -- as he is in great demand.
Asking basic questions, especially about the night shoot, I received the following initial response, which we followed up later with additional queries. The initial comparison to the great John Alcott's work on Barry Lyndon, and candlelit interiors was enough to get my mind racing.
Thank you for your very kind words about my work on Wolf Hall, we all worked very hard on the project so it's lovely for it to be appreciated.