From cinematographer to boss, Wally Pfister talks about his first film as director
Wally Pfister has made a name for himself—as one of Hollywood’s top cinematographers in the past decade. Proving that his cinematic eye can work on various formats, he recently shot the latest Apple Watch ads on a Red Dragon camera. Depicting the human side of the watch, discussion forums have even called the shots a Rembrandt. The cinematographer has to his credit blockbusters including Momento, The Prestige, The Dark Knight series and, of course, the Oscar-winning Inception. He is often referred to as Christopher Nolan’s secret weapon. And while Pfister’s directorial debut last year, Transcendence, didn’t create a stir at the box office, he insists that some of Nolan’s magic has rubbed off on him.
This weekend, the sci-fi film, sees a TV premiere. About Dr Will Caster (Johnny Depp) who creates a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known, with the full range of human emotions, it questions technology and human ethics. “I am happy with the way Transcendence turned out. I know I made mistakes in that it wasn’t clear enough for mass appeal. But I said exactly what I tried to say,” insists Pfister.
Picking IMAX as his favourite format to shoot in, he explains that the imagery is immersive. “It carries a certain weight with it. It is shot in such high resolution and the imagery covers the entire screen, you simply get lost in what you see,” he marvels. Pfister believes that awards are a validation of the work you’ve put in. “But I’d prefer mass appeal to begin with because then the money can go to make a film that will win an award,” he concludes.
Transcendence premieres on Sunday, 1 pm and 9 pm, on Sony PIX