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Logan cinematographer talks about filming the series' most emotional scene

03.09.2017

Logan Hugh Jackman

I think it goes without saying that if you haven't seen LOGAN yet, there are going to be some SPOILERS in this article! In any case, Logan's cinematographer, John Mathieson, spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the final scene of the film, and how he actually broke director James Mangold's trend of only using one camera in order to capture the action. You can check out the highlights below.

Cinematographer John Mathieson on shooting Logan's death scene:

It's very important to get into the eyes of both of them. The tears are going to come. You don't just shoot Hugh and go, 'That was very nice. Now let's shoot Dafne.' Because they are giving it their all. They will be drained. Jim is very much a one-camera man, but I didn't even look back at him. I'm sure he got cross at me, but I think he'd agree that whatever is going to happen is going to happen. You better make sure you get it on two cameras. If you have a great performance on one side and they are doing marvelous things and you don't have the other side at the same time - a hand goes here or someone brushes hair out of someone's face - then it's very difficult to re-create that. Then you have the script supervisor coming in, 'Oh you had this in your left hand and your tear came here.' You just can't do that to people.

Regarding the tone of the set while filming this scene:

Hugh's got the patience of a saint. He's great and he'd never complain about anything. He'd do it again, and again and again. But it was still hard for him and it was hard for her. They had to dance together on this one. You're treading carefully around them and kind of impressing the crew with, 'Are you ready for this? Because it's going to happen once - and you've got to have your focus.' It's a real moment, it's a real piece of emotion. It's a real performance and it really happened at that time - and you can't drain people too much to do that again and again. They were great. You knew when you got it. And you knew you could feel it easing off as well. 'Let's go again. Let's go again.' It was diminishing returns. 'You know what? Two takes before was the one.'

On the overall look of LOGAN:

This isn't a pretty film." I said, "Sorry, Sir Patrick." He's very fragile in the movie. Then you see him at the premiere and he looks fantastic. Much younger and youthful and bright-eyed. And Hugh, he's a drunk [in the movie] and he hates himself and he's scarred up. Hugh [in real life] is a good-looking chap. It was hard overhead lighting and hollowed-out eyes. He's craggy. The usual X-Men vibe is everyone looks fantastic and glamorous. You make them look good because they've got superpowers and they've got amazing costumes and all that stuff. In Logan, these guys are all covered in dust in torn-up jeans and stains from whatever nasty things they've been eating and dripping all over themselves. It's not a glamorous film. It's rough. It's real. You feel the grit and dirt in it. When your stand in the desert all day, you are dying for a shower.

While I have my qualms with aspects of the story (as I'm sure others do), there's denying that LOGAN has a real sense of grit and emotion running throughout. It certainly was more compelling than most of the comic book movies we see today, warts and all. I know people are quick to praise the film for its R-rating, but there was certainly a lot more than the rating that LOGAN had going for it, and the cinematography was just one of those aspects.

LOGAN is now in theaters.

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