Paul Thomas Anderson Is Both Director and Cinematographer for His New Movie
Paul Thomas Anderson’s movies have always had a distinct look. That’s partly due to him using the same cinematographer for a number of his movies — Robert Elswit (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood) — but mostly due to Anderson’s own sense of style. You only have to look at something like The Town, which Elswit also shot, to see that Anderson knows what he prefers his films to look like. Which is why it should come as no surprise that he’s acting as his own cinematographer for his newest film, currently being referred to as Phantom Thread.
Indiewire first reported that Anderson was serving as his own DP, a feat that is not for the faint of heart and requires an encyclopedic knowledge of cameras, film stock, lenses, and that kind of thing. But Anderson is up for it: one of the cameramen Indiewire spoke to mentioned that when he worked with Anderson on Inherent Vice, he was immediately floored by how “camera-savvy” Anderson was.
It’s difficult to do both jobs at once, but a number of filmmakers have dipped a toe into it at least once. David Lynch was his own DP for Inland Empire, Quentin Tarantino shot Death Proof, Robert Rodriguez did the same for Sin City. Steven Soderbergh often works as his own cinematographer, as he has done for his upcoming feature Logan Lucky.
The Film That Will Formerly Be Known As Phantom Thread, which stars Day-Lewis as a fashion designer in 1950s London, opens December 25.