‘Interstellar’ cinematographer on grounding Nolan’s movie and shooting Bond on film

Hoyte van Hoytema has shot up through the ranks since his career has shifted over to the states. He caught most people's attention with “Let the Right One In,” which hit theaters the same year as Christopher Nolan's “The Dark Knight.” Now the fruits of his own collaboration with the blockbuster filmmaker, “Interstellar,” finds itself in theaters.

It's a notable change of personnel for Nolan, who until this time has always worked with DP Wally Pfister. With Pfister transitioning to a career of directing, Nolan smartly tapped one of the most exciting talents in the business. And others continue to catch on, too. As we exclusively reported last month, Sam Mendes tapped Van Hoytema to replace Roger Deakins on his next installment of the James Bond franchise.

But what Nolan and Van Hoytema have accomplished with “Interstellar” is a very different beast than the work Nolan has done with Pfister. It's less concerned with refinement and, as you'll see in the back and forth below, was the result of a desire to ground the material. Every choice in this movie, whether you like and agree with it or not (including the sound mix), has been a willful one. So it was fascinating to get Van Hoytema on the phone and talk about that in terms of the film's look.

So dig in for more…

“Interstellar” is now playing everywhere.


HitFix: Hey Hoyte. The last time we spoke you had pretty much signed your kidneys away and couldn't say much about this movie!

Hoyte van Hoytema: Oh, yeah, exactly. [Laughs.]

It was a big step up for you so what was the experience like?

It was a big, wonderful experience for me. I loved every moment of it.

Moving into the realm of 70mm and IMAX technology, that had to be kid-in-a-candy-store-level stuff for a DP.

It was a total treat. I've always been a big lover of medium format photography and I totally understand the beauty of a big negative. As you also know from before, I also love short depth of field. So 70mm gave me, in a way, that extreme texture resolution and depth, and it's such a physical medium as well, just because it's so big. The camera is, every second, pulling 24 of those gigantic negatives through the camera. It's a very exciting thing if you love film.