Jeffrey Waldron was the cinematographer on half of the eight episodes of the Hulu limited series “Little Fires Everywhere,” alongside Trevor Forrest. It was a unique collaboration between the two, as both were brought on from the beginning and worked together to create a seamless look for the show. “We always knew what the next step would be,” Waldron says in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. “It wasn’t that we were trying to copy each other’s work from the previous episode because we knew we’d be stepping forward and forward leading up to that explosive finale.” Watch the full video interview above.
Waldron was initially drawn in by the prose of Celeste Ng‘s novel of the same name, on which the series is based. “I always enjoy the challenge of trying to take the prose of the book and find out how to adapt that,” he explains, noting that at the start, the cinematography is “a lot of wides and a lot of tableau stuff and starts to break down and starts to get more handheld and edgy and starts to be moodier in lighting and starts to have a lot more long lens and shallow depth of field.” With Ng’s novel as a base, showrunner Liz Tigelaar’s vision for the show and Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington‘s starring performances, Waldron felt confident in what the visual feel should be for the Hulu series. “I feel like the cinematographer’s role is to create the invisible tapestry around the dialogue and the plot.”
One of Waldron’s biggest showcases on “Little Fires Everywhere” is in Episode 2, titled “Seeds and All,” when Mia (Washington) and Elena (Witherspoon) are having an intense bonding moment after a book club meeting. We eventually see them in extreme closeup as the two women discuss the complexities of motherhood. Waldron and director Michael Weaver decided to film both actresses at the same time as opposed to the usual type of coverage. In that way, “they’re not wasting a performance off-camera,” Waldron describes, “but it’s also putting us in a place where we’re not seeing the other cameras and the other lights and that’s always such an amazing artistic and technical puzzle to make them look great, look right for the scene, have the mood be right on both sides and not see each other.”
Being part of “Little Fires Everywhere” was a rewarding experience for Waldron, especially to work with Witherspoon, Washington and Tigelaar. This was a dream collaboration and it was from the top led by some of the smartest, most brilliant women working in the biz and I feel lucky to have been a part of it,” he raves. “It was inspiring every day.”
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