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About The Production
In assembling the technicians and creative team to work behind the camera, Mike Binder turned first to his producing partner and brother, Jack Binder. Having worked together on many films, the brothers communicate in an easy, shorthand way. When it comes to physical production, the brothers share a belief in the "run n' gun” philosophy. As Jack explains, "We're guerilla filmmakers at heart – we bring that into each movie we do. It helps us to achieve the type of films we make and it adds an energy to the filming process. Mike's a very fast-moving, quick shooter and he likes to keep that pace and speed going on the set.”

With this philosophy as a starting point, the brothers needed to recruit a cinematographer who could keep pace. Russ Alsobrook, ASC, who previously photographed the director's HBO series "The Mind of the Married Man” as well as Binder's feature Man About Town, was familiar with Binder's directing style and accustomed to a quick pace from his extensive experience shooting episodic television. Alsobrook relished the opportunity to make use of cutting-edge digital technology to capture the gritty realism of Charlie Fineman's New York City.

While Binder explores certain universal themes in his script – friendship, communication, loss – Reign Over Me is also an intimate look at one man's very personal story. Conveying this visually was critical for the director. "I really wanted to tell the story from the point of view of a man on the streets and sidewalks,” says Binder. "I didn't want big, sweeping helicopter shots of the city skyscape. I wanted to be on the street with Charlie, reflecting his point of view. It gives the film a whole different look.”

To achieve this, Binder and Alsobrook turned to Martin Scorsese's masterpiece, Taxi Driver, for its inspired take on this kind of visual storytelling.

In these scenes, the camera follows Adam Sandler's character on his motorized scooter through the strangely empty city. Panavision's high definition digital Genesis system helped the filmmakers create a moving setting within the city, while avoiding a postcard perfect, glossy glimpse of New York. "Our depth of field with these cameras was so much further than you could see – blocks and blocks in the distance and we didn't have to light the world to do it,” recounts the director. "I hope that as they watch the film, audiences really feel as if they're inside the city, not merely outside looking in on a movie about New York.”

As producer Jack Binder continues, "It's a terrific tool for filmmakers. The digital technology enables a production to move very quickly. It takes in a lot of existing light, limiting reliance on cumbersome and lengthy lighting set-ups.”

"It was fantastic to work in New York first and absorb the atmosphere of the place while shooting on the streets,” recalls Saffron Burrows. "It was good to have a feel of just how cold it is there in February. Each time we did a scene later in Los Angeles, I would remind myself how cold I had felt there. It was good to keep that New York weather going through the story.”

Jada Pinkett Smith adds, "It was definitely a plus starting there. New York creates such a unique energy. It was helpful for me to meet women like my character and know what they're wearing, doing, saying, reading. It was good to have the New York state of mind in place.”

Months in advance of filming, production designer Pipo Wintter searched up and down Manhattan with local location scouts to find the film's landscape. Securing sites from one end of the island to the other, Wintter sought to fulfill the director's vision. "Mike wanted to break from a more classic perspective of the city,” describes Wintter. "He wanted to stay clear of bird's-eye views of Central Park, the Chrysler Building and other defining landmarks, opting instead<


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