Magazine article American Cinematographer

Mandy Walker Recreates the Western Genre for Jane Got a Gun

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Mandy Walker Recreates the Western Genre for Jane Got a Gun

Article excerpt

In Jane Got a Gun, a woman must turn to her former fiancé for help in defending her new family. The film, which stars Natalie Portman and Ewan MacGregor, gave Mandy Walker, ASC, ACS an opportunity to work in the Western genre, something many cinematographers dream of doing.

"There's something unique and iconic about cowboys riding horses across the landscape, or tracking low angle on people confronting each other in a cowboy hat with a couple of guns," she says. "I think all DPs would love to tackle the genre at some stage."

Walker's recent credits include John Curran's Tracks, Catherine Hardwicke's Red Riding Hood and Baz Luhrmann's epic Australia. The latter brought Walker numerous awards nominations along with a Satellite Award from the International Press Academy. In 2008, she was honored as Cinematographer of the Year at the Hollywood Film Festival, and received the KODAK VISION Film Award from Women In Film.

While creating the look for Jane Got a Gun, Walker and director Gavin O'Connor referenced John Ford films, Once Upon a Time in the l/VÎÉf, and more^odern Westerns, like Unforgiven. They quickly decided that 35mm anamorphic film, and the widescreen 2.40:1 aspect ratio it delivers, was the right format for the project. The cameras and lenses were PANAVISION, with G Series glass. Walker says those lenses were the right choice for all the anamorphic artifacts and bokeh which the filmmakers loved, while the composition and camera movement were more "traditional Western."

Jone Got a Gun was Walker's 16th consecutive feature project shot on film. "What I said to Gavin straightaway ,was that we should go with film because It will give us the best resolution and the best range of contrast out in the harsh conditions," she says. "I'm so familiar with shooting film that I felt very confident in giving the project the look that we wanted."

Walker used a full array of KODAK Film stocks, depending on the conditions, including KODAK 500T Color Negative Film 5230, KODAK VISION3 500T Color Negative Film 5219, KODAK VISION3 250D Color Negative Film 5207, and KODAK VISION3 50D Color Negative Film 5203.

"I chose the 50D stock because I had used it extensively on Tracks, a film we shot in the desert in Australia," she ' says. …

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