Oscar-nominee Dick Pope on how they recreated 1950s New York for Motherless Brooklyn 5 months ago

Oscar-nominee Dick Pope on how they recreated 1950s New York for Motherless Brooklyn

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"I don't think the film could've been made without this."

Period crime movies are having a bit of a moment in 2019.

The Irishman, Joker, The Kitchen, The Highwaymen, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (sort of), even Hustlers, have all taken their stories of illegalities and perfectly presented them in a specific time period.

And so it is with Motherless Brooklyn, an epic private detective story written, directed by and starring Edward Norton, which is based on a book set in the 1990s, but the movie itself is thrown back to the 1950s.

JOE was lucky enough to chat to the movie's director of photography, two-time Oscar-nominee Dick Pope (The Illusionist, Secrets & Lies, Mr. Turner, Legend) and the conversation turned to the impossibility of turning 2019 New York into a recreation of itself, but 60 or so years younger, and Pope was very open about what made it work.

"I don't think the film could've been made without the tools of CGI. It couldn't have been made. I mean, there are hundreds of CG shots in the film" he said.

"But none of them work against the cinematography. They all completely run in tandem with the look of the film. The guy who was the VFX supervisor, I think he's a genius.

"We talked endlessly, he and I. He was on the film the whole time. He didn't just visit, he was there as a part of the project. His input into the film, talking to me, it was in tandem really, we worked together.

"I think the CG in the film is a triumph, really. I just don't see how we could've done it without it. It wouldn't have had the scope, or the epic quality of big, big scenarios, on the streets, with the chases, the fabric of old New York, it is obviously augmented by CG in the film. It had to be. Without that, the film doesn't exist.

"I don't think the film would've been made without the input of that. It would've been a very different, small affair. Very tight, and not showing the expanse, if it hadn't have been CG."

You can listen to the interview in full with Dick Pope right here:

Motherless Brooklyn - starring Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Leslie Mann, Willem Dafoe, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Bobby Cannavale - is released in Irish cinemas on Friday 6 December and you can check out the trailer right here:

Clip via Warner Bros. UK

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