Fabian Wagner and Laurie Rose on Overlord
The Approach: Natural, colorful, dark, bold; WWII, but modern
How They Did It: (Wagner) Director Julius Avery and I talked about the look of the movie way before prep even started. We wanted it to be colorful and different from the usual desaturated war-movie look, so it was always about pushing in a lot of darkness, mixing light sources and color temperatures. It’s an entertaining Hollywood movie, so it had to have a contemporary approach, but with a handheld, documentary feel when it seemed necessary or useful. I don’t like to overdo one or the other. Unfortunately, I had to leave the movie a few weeks into shooting, as my mum fell ill and I wanted to be there for her and my family. Laurie Rose stepped in to take over, and did an amazing job.
(Rose) My thinking was that we were portraying an important period that has been represented in cinema many times over, in all sorts of effective and memorable ways. Our role on Overlord was not to make a historically accurate war film, necessarily, but to convey a real sense of the time, albeit in a heightened way. The aim, from my point of view, was to be as subjective as we could be, put the audience in the room but also maintain an action dynamic that was thrilling to just sit back and watch. We know who the good guys are, and we see them struggle with their consciences in a confusing time of war, but the action keeps coming. It’s always great to combine physical effects with cast as much as possible, because that makes the experience visceral and truthful for the audience. Using edits, takeovers in-vision and a little digital face replacement, the results are very effective.
The Takeway: (Wagner) I know I did the right thing stepping away to be there for my family, but it was tricky and emotional too, because I had invested so much into the movie and the prep. It was the right thing to do for sure, but tough.
Camera: Arri Alexa
Lenses: Panavision C series
Lighting: Tungstens, HMIs, LEDs
Picture post/DI: Stefan Sonnenfeld MM