Jeffrey Jur interview: ‘Bridgerton’ cinematographer
“I’m just the luckiest guy in the world to be able to come to these amazing sets, these amazing locations with these amazing costumes and wigs and makeup … So it was important for me to capture all the detail,” explains “Bridgerton” cinematographer Jeffrey Jur, a two-time Emmy winner who earned his fourth career nomination this year for his work on the Netflix romance. Watch our exclusive video interview with Jur above.
“Bridgerton” follows the romantic exploits of the title family as they navigate high society in 19th century London. Its third episode, “Art of the Swoon,” is the one that earned Jur his nomination, and it included a “wide variety of looks” as Simon Bassett (Rege-Jean Page) grows closer to Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) only to push her away and into the arms of Prince Friedrich (Freddie Stroma).
The episode begins with a “magical” dream sequence in which Daphne fantasizes a nighttime dance with Simon. Then there are expansive interiors like the Somerset House with floor-to-ceiling artworks, which are “daunting when you first see it. You’re like, oh my God, this is the biggest room I’ve ever photographed,” so they “worked with balloons quite a bit” to float lights to the ceiling. At night, “candles were lighting quite a few of our scenes.” And during the day he strove to use as much natural light as possible: “My dream is always to shoot a day interior location with no lights in the room at all, just light from the windows, maybe a little bounce card to push a little light into a face.”
The episode ends with Phoebe making a grand entrance at a ball and wowing the crowd — especially Friedrich. “We actually shot all of it in slow motion,” Jur remembers. “We knew we wanted to slow everything down and that we wanted a lot of reactions, a lot of shots … So we had three cameras, I think, on that … to make sure that we were covering all those little moments between characters and how they reacted to what was happening.”
Jur previously won Emmys for the fantasy series “Carnivale” (2004) and the biographical film “Bessie” (2015). He also has multiple prizes from his peers in the American Society of Cinematographers, including the Television Career Achievement Award in 2019. He was “stunned” by that recognition, and gratified that “they don’t call it lifetime achievement … because you feel like maybe it’s over and it’s time to hit the road and pack it in.” So it’s especially meaningful for him to follow that honor with this year’s Emmy nom: “I’m really happy that this has happened with ‘Bridgerton’ because I’m still here and I’m still working.”