“It’s very exciting,” said “The Man in the High Castle” cinematographer James Hawkinson as we chat via webcam (watch above) about his first Emmy nomination. The acclaimed Amazon series is based on the novel by Phillip K. Dick, and imagines what life in 1962 America would’ve been like had the Nazis won WWII. Hawkinson says he was a fan of both the author and of Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner” (1982), an adaptation Dick’s sci-fi classic “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” To that end he readily admits, “it was an exciting project from the start.”
Hawkinson, best-known for his lensing of “Hannibal” and “Community,” competes for the pilot episode, which also brought him his first American Society of Cinematographers nomination. “We wanted somewhat of a retro, futuristic look for the show,” he reveals. “What I mean by that is retro in terms of we wanted it to have a vintage look, a look of how photography and film looks in the early ‘60s, and futuristic in that there’s impossible technology that takes place within the show.”
To achieve this, he returned to the original source material. “Philip K. Dick was very interested in false worlds, false people,” he explains. “I think he was the ultimate skeptic when it came to reality, and so we kind of wanted to play with that. Again, bringing something that’s very familiar, nostalgic, yet completely foreign and strange.”
Hawkinson is excited by the growing opportunities television presents. “It’s a revolution that’s happening,” he declares. “I don’t know if it’s a generational thing or what it is, but certainly there’s a lot of great craftsmen out there doing this stuff, and I’m pleased to be part of that.”
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