Ben Kutchins Interview: ‘Ozark’ cinematographer
“I’ve always been interested in things that happen more in a rural setting,” admits cinematographer Ben Kutchins. “Most of the movies that I’ve shot to this point take place in an urban setting,” so when he was offered “Ozark,” he jumped at it. “I was raised in the country, so this was an opportunity to explore the darkness of my childhood as it were.” This year Kutchins received his career-first Emmy nomination for the series. Watch our exclusive video interview with him above.
This Netflix drama centers on a Chicago-based financial adviser (Jason Bateman) who relocates his family to the Missouri Ozarks when his dealings with a drug cartel go awry. Kutchins competes for Best Cinematography (Single-Camera Series, One Hour) for shooting the episode “The Toll,” which also brought Bateman a nomination for Best Drama Directing. And Bateman entered it as his episode submission for Best Drama Actor.
Kutchins wanted to “evoke memories in the audience. I think the strongest photography and storytelling is when you’re evoking something from somebody’s past. So I think a lot of what I was doing on this was trying to bring back memories of what it felt like to be a kid looking out of a window and wondering if there was somebody out there watching from the darkness of the trees.”
Kutchins has also served as cinematographer on such shows as “Mozart in the Jungle,” “The Dangerous Book for Boys,” and “Happyish.” He has shot for the big screen as well, including the films “The Longest Week” (2014), starring Bateman, and “Crown Heights” (2017). He is returning for season two of “Ozark,” which premieres on August 31.