February 18, 2013

INTERVIEW: 'Catching Fire' director of photography talks about camera work & meeting Jennifer Lawrence

Jo Willems, hired by Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence as the director of photography for highly anticipated sequel for The Hunger Games, recently had an interview with Belgium's De Standaard where he talked about working on the film and meeting Jennifer Lawrence for the first time.

On working on such a large project

‘In the past, I rejected some major projects, because it didn’t feel right, but I didn’t doubt [Catching Fire] for a second,’ Willems says. ‘I liked the previous movie very much and I wanted to work with Francis very badly … The first days of filming, I was there with shaky knees though. There I was, on the set of a million dollar project. I had underestimated that pressure. But as soon as I saw the first takes, I knew it would turn out right. I could relax after that.’ 
On the different camera work for the sequel

‘There’s more camera work on the shoulder, making the takes seem more aggressive. For Francis and me, there was no doubt about making the movie on film. Digital is clean and sterile, but real film has more soul and emotion. The story is set in a distant future, so it had to look as real and authentic as possible.’
On meeting Jennifer Lawrence
‘I was a little star struck at first, she really has a commanding presence. But she is so sweet and normal, so [that stark struck feeling] passed off very quickly. My nine-years-old daughter likes it though: when she visited me on set, she was able to meet Jennifer. She thinks I’m the coolest dad in the world right now.’ 
On the Catching Fire shooting schedule

For the past six months, he’s had a very busy schedule. 14-hour-days and six-day-weeks are no exception. ‘It’s been heavy,’ Willems says. ‘But we really wanted to finish filming before Christmas.’


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