Roger Deakins Talks about Shooting James Bond Skyfall

Skyfall sees famed cinematographer Roger Deakins ASC. pair up with Sam Mendes in their third cinematic collaboration.

Skyfall returns to the Connery days of the James Bond franchise, where nearly every frame would drip with coolness. Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale was a step in the right direction, but it wasn’t until director Sam Mendes and cinematographer Roger Deakins showed up that the series began to feel at its most alive, cinematic, and stylish. This world of Bond is lavish and bold, and to a degree we have never seen from this series before.

Deakins achieved all that slickness with his new favorite storytelling tool, the ARRI ALEXA. Deakins used the camera on his previous film, In Time. After two outings with the ALEXA, Deakins fails to see any shortcoming with the camera. As the man said a few years ago, don’t expect him to return film, unless the Coen Brothers come calling. If you call that sacrilegious, as Deakins tells us, he doesn’t really get what your problem is.

Here is what Skyfall cinematographer Roger Deakins had to say about working with Sam Mendes, the film’s stunning Shanghai fight sequence, and how anything rarely comes easy for him:

This being the third time you’ve worked with Mr. Mendes, what appeals to you about collaborating with him?

He’s very imaginative. It’s a good collaboration, really. He has strong eyes, takes chances, and tries things. It’s stimulating.

Does that collaboration feel different on a big machine like Skyfall versus Revolutionary Road?

The Bond movies are a big machine, yeah. In the way we approached it, it was very much like the films we had done before. This was character-driven. You just don’t throw equipment at it. Like, you don’t throw cameras at a scene because it’s an action scene. We shot a lot of it on one or two cameras, like how we shot the other movies.

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