Magazine article Screen International

Anthony DOD Mantle, Rush

Magazine article Screen International

Anthony DOD Mantle, Rush

Article excerpt

Oscar-winning cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle tells Michael Rosser about teaming with Ron Howard on the Formula 1 racing drama Rush.

Anthony Dod Mantle has had to move quickly over the years. Fleeing the zombies of 28 Days Later or running through the back alleys of Mumbai for Slumdog Millionaire, the Oscar-winning cinematographer brings a ferocious energy to the screen with his innovative use of digital cameras.

But his need for speed was greater than ever on Rush, the true story of Formula 1 drivers Niki Lauda and James Hunt as they battled for the chequered flag at the 1976 World Championships.

It marks his first collaboration with Ron Howard, the director of Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind, who chose to shoot on digital for the first time.

"Ron and I have a lot of things in common, but we come from very different worlds," says Dod Mantle. "Ron is Hollywood royalty and I was Zentropa royalty. You can't get more different than that."

The Oxford-born cinematographer, now based in Copenhagen, is referring to his work on Danish films including Festen and Mifune as well as Lars von Trier's Dogville and Antichrist.

"Ron comes from a world of classic narrative cinema and has a tendency to use coverage and long lenses. I want to try and mess that up."

Devising the palette for Rush, Dod Mantle says he wanted to avoid "the predictable, downgraded, saturated look of '70s films" and instead focus on the "colour, sex, danger and panache" of Formula 1. The process was made more complex by the need to use archive material that would show the large crowds and race tracks of the era.

"What we were shooting had to marry with the archive so the footage didn't 'bump'," he recalls. "Aesthetically I didn't want it to bump - just like I didn't want the cars to bump."

'Ron Howard is Hollywood royalty and I was Zentropa royalty. You can't get more different than that'

Poring over countless hours of archive "subconsciously helped to develop the shooting palette".

"Sometimes the camera doesn't catch something perfectly but you sense something's happened. There can be an awful silence to a car crash as the camera wanders to find what has happened. I wanted to recreate that atmosphere."

The race unit had four weeks to shoot on locations including Cadwell Park and Donington Park racing circuits in the UK, recreating key moments from Grands Prix including Monaco, the UK's Brands Hatch and Japan's Fuji. …

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