As the director of photography on this week’s limited release Death Defying Acts and the anticipated summer movie Mamma Mia!, Haris Zambarloukos is having quite a month. Both films are just steps on the ladder to success that Zambarloukos has been climbing for a while now; in 2004 he earned a nomination for Best Technical Achievement at the British Independent Film Awards for Enduring Love and has spent the last few years building up a reputation through his work on films like Venus (2006), starring Peter O’Toole and Kenneth Branagh’s Sleuth (2007).
With his two most recent projects Zambarloukos is showing off a wide range of ability and fulfilling the promise signified by his inclusion in Variety’s 2006 list, “10 to Watch: Cinematographers.” This week you can see his abilities put to use in Death Defying Acts, a dark, intriguing period piece about legendary figure Harry Houdini (Guy Pearce) and his relationship with a mother-daughter psychic team (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Saoirse Ronan of Atonement, respectively). Next week he shows off an entirely different skill set; using the camera to capture colorful, over-the-top dance numbers (executed by the likes of Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth) under the bright sun of the Mediterranean for larger-than-life ABBA musical adaptation Mamma Mia!.
After showing the film world his extraordinary ability to work in contrasting cinematic environments, this member of the British Society of Cinematographers (who started his career as an intern on 1998’s A Civil Action) is certain to be around for a long time to come. If this month’s releases don’t provide enough Zambarloukos for you, look for his work in the upcoming film The Other Man, directed by Richard Eyre and set for a December release.