Benjamin Kračun ventured into new territory as the cinematographer on “Promising Young Woman.” Having previously worked on more traditional thrillers with a dark sensibility, Kračun was tasked with creating a more vibrant palette to execute writer-director Emerald Fennell‘s vision for a candy-colored pop aesthetic. “I had done a lot of work that’s maybe a lot darker, and more classical thriller or slightly horror or heavy drama,” says Kračun in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. “I think this really opened up some of my lighting into a softer area, which I’m quite pleased with, and also it shows that you can play with that tone.” Watch the full interview above.
Taking inspiration from bright satirical films like “To Die For” and “Clueless,” Kračun emphasized blues, pinks and reds, creating a compelling contrast with the dark tone of the film. “It’s a far more interesting approach because it also means that in a way, the film is in a disguise,” the cinematographer observes. “You’re not signposting what’s going to happen.”
One very subtle example of signposting, however, is in the camerawork itself. “A lot of the camera is directly related to where Cassie is and how she is at that particular moment and then also playing with those little techniques of slow, predatory moves,” explains Kračun, “which then come full circle in the penultimate scene when it’s moving in on Cassie.”
There are also far fewer close-ups in “Promising Young Woman” than you might expect in a contemporary film, which is entirely intentional. Kračun notes that Fennell is a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, who famously deployed closeups selectively in his suspense films. This is why our first big close-up in the film is when Cassie first hears Al Monroe’s name, which brings back a flood of memories that sets her on the path we see for the rest of the film. Another close-up shot is featured when Cassie is watching the tape of the traumatic night from her past. “These are massive, totemic moments for Cassie,” states Kračun, which is why they get such focus.
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