Robert Richardson, the director of photography on Django Unchained, opens up about what it’s like working on Tarantino’s Spaghetti Western Mash-up.
Django Unchained, a controversial mash-up of Italian “spaghetti westerns” and the horrors of slavery, is the fourth film multi-Oscar-winning cinematographerRobert Richardson has lensed for Quentin Tarantino. Over the span of a decade – encompassing the two martial arts pastiches Kill Bill I and II and Inglourious Basterds, a sly revisionist take on World War II – “our interaction has become more and more intuitive,” said the director of photography. “With Quentin, I tend not to draw as large a signature on my work. I’m trying to become more like one of his actors, rather than a cinematographer with his own agenda.”
That’s not to say Richardson is in any way a shrinking violet, but rather that he’s fully in sync with Tarantino’s audacious genre-busting aesthetic. From rollicking to ravishing to stingingly realistic, from blood-drenched shootouts and horrifying slave whippings to scenic snowbound episodes set against majestic mountains, Richardson’s virtuosity as a cinematographer is abundantly on display throughout Django Unchained.
Tarantino’s often declared love of spaghetti westerns inspired the making ofDjango Unchained. During prep, Richardson and the director screened classics of the genre by directors Serge Leone (A Fistful of Dollars), Dario Argento(Once Upon a Time in the West) and Sergio Corbucci (the original Django1966).
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