Marshall Adams (‘Servant’ cinematographer): ‘You don’t want to ever set up a shot because it looks cool’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Between “Breaking Bad” prequel “Better Call Saul” and “Breaking Bad” sequel “El Camino,” director of photography Marshall Adams has been responsible for some of the most acclaimed cinematography on television in recent years, but he has never been nominated for an Emmy Award. “It could be a difference in opinion as to what I think drives great visuals versus what the nominating committee likes to see,” surmises Adams during an exclusive interview with Gold Derby about his eligible work on the Apple TV+ drama “Servant” (watch the video above).

He says about his style, “We do some very specific style visuals and they can call a little bit too much attention to themselves for my own taste sometimes, but it’s a lot of fun, but I try never try never to shoehorn. It’s always got to be driven by the story. That’s our rule on ‘Saul’. For sure, it’s got to be driven by story. You don’t want to ever set up a shot because it looks cool.”

Unlike most other categories at the Emmys in which the votes of all members of the relevant branch determine the nominations, cinematography nomination result from a process in which judges review submissions, which must be in the form of a specified four or five continuous minutes from a single episode.

During the two-year hiatus between the penultimate season of “Better Call Saul” and the final one that Adams is in New Mexico shooting now, “Servant” showrunner M. Night Shyamalan recruited Adams to take over for a leading four episodes of that psychological thriller’s second season. Adams has submitted the opening sequence of his debut outing there for Emmy consideration in the Best Half-Hour Cinematography race, from the episode titled “2:00” directed by Shyamalan.

Adams explains, “I literally started right from the beginning. Our opening shot was a very difficult setup. We craned up a set of steps with Dorothy and around the corner and so it was a very tricky shot — it was actually the first shot I ever did with Night, so I was really proud of it — and continues up into the attic, which we introduce for the first time in the show, so I definitely wanted to take advantage of that.”

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