MILLION DOLLAR ARM
Behind The Scenes
In order to underscore the incredible dichotomy between India and the States,
the boys' old life and their new
world, Craig Gillespie and cinematographer Gyula Pados opted to shoot on film
in India and relied on the Hi-Def
Alexa camera in the U.S. Moreover, while in India, they relied on a kinetic,
handheld camera and a looser frame
to emphasize the chaos and vitality that is India. In contrast, the visuals were
quieter, more contained and more
classically framed in the States.
"Gyula and I literally have done 80 commercials together over the last couple
years before this movie, so we have
a real shorthand and a similar aesthetic, in terms of how we wanted to shoot,"
Gillespie explains. "Very quickly
we decided we wanted to do film in India and then digital in America. Part of
that, from a character point of view,
was that we wanted to reflect all the life and energy in India, and that
combination of using a lot of handheld
and messy lenses, always a lot of foreground action and just embracing that
chaos and fun that we encountered
represented JB being accosted by it - as we were, too! And then when we got back
to the States, we decided
to use the Alexa because it's cleaner than fi lm, in terms of the look and also
the camera settles down, it's not
handheld as much, it's more like it's floating or still, to reinforce the
loneliness the boys feel when they enter the
States, the emptiness and the coldness and how out of place they feel."
Complicating matters was the fact that Gillespie and Pados had to condense
the boys' grueling training and
tryouts, their first failure and ultimate success into about six shooting
days. On many occasions, they completed
over 100 setups a day. They moved quickly and adroitly, anchored by a meticulous shot list.
"In a way, we were spontaneous although we knew all the shots we needed,"
Gillespie says. "We might change
the shots as we were filming; we were apt to grab stuff on top of what we knew
we wanted. It was spontaneous
in that we might be shooting a piece in handheld but Gyula's so great at that
because he's so great at feeling
what the actor is doing and where to put the camera, what to look at and that's
where it's spontaneous, it's
truly character-driven. And that's when you put yourself in the hands of a gifted cameraman because you need
someone who's so instinctive and great with that."
Gillespie also worked closely with designer Kirston Leigh Mann, a frequent
collaborator who also performed
the same duties on Gillespie's "Lars and the Real Girl" and "United States of
Tara." Mann sees a few similarities between Don Draper and JB Bernstein.
Academy and GRAMMY Award-winning
composer A. R. hman agreed to score the
movie early on. Gillespie was thrilled to welcome
the Indian composer, songwriter, musician and
philanthropist to the team, particularly for the
ease with which he combines both traditional and
modern Indian arrangements with Western music.
The real significance of the movie is that home
is where the heart is, that family is the most
important thing but that there are a lot of ways to
define what family is. Like JB, one creates the family they eventually deserve
and desire. JB finally figures it out
and does it the right way.
"Second chances is certainly my favorite movie theme," producer Roth
concludes. "Or going from selfish to
selfless, and the kindness of strangers. Again, I think we all would like to
have second chances, and when the
audience is left in a dark room they can review what those second chances might
be. I think that's a universal
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