Cinematographer Paul Cameron on Apocalypse Now
"You’re an errand boy sent by grocery clerks to collect a bill."
Movies We Like is an ongoing series of ours in which we invite an industry guest to join us and bring along one of their favorite movies to talk about. In this month’s episode, cinematographer Paul Cameron joins us to talk about one of his favorite films, Apocalypse Now.
We talk about why this film is such a key film for us and why Paul picked it, specifically the darkly poetic journey we go on with the characters, both internally and externally. We look at what Francis Ford Coppola went through to get this film made and how he, his crew and his cast all took their own dark journeys to make it happen. We discuss the script and what John Milius, Coppola and Michael Herr built into it as they adapted Joseph Conrad’s novella “Heart of Darkness” into a Vietnam setting. We chat about what the actors – notably Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Larry Fishburne, Sam Bottoms, Albert Hall and Dennis Hopper – bring to the table. We discuss the importance of the look of the film, beautifully shot by Vittorio Storaro; and of the sound, designed by Walter Murch, Mark Berger, Richard Beggs and Nathan Boxer, and how it’s the grandfather of Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound. We touch on the original cut and Apocalypse Now Redux, not to mention Coppola’s wife’s documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse and how all of the behind the scenes stories may affect one’s views of the film (if at all). And we look at how well the film did, assuaging any concerns Coppola had during the making (especially since it was self-financed and required him to mortgage his vineyards).
It’s a brilliant film, truly one of the great American classics and well worth talking about. We have a great chat with Paul about it, so check out the movie then tune in!
Welcome to Movies We Like
In each episode, co-hosts Andy Nelson and Pete Wright invite someone from inside the film industry to discuss their favorite films. What makes a movie inspirational to a cinematographer or a costume designer? Listen in to hear how these pros watch their favorite films.