Steve Yedlin Interview: ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ cinematographer
During our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above), cinematographer Steve Yedlin reveals that when director Rian Johnson first brought him aboard the eagerly anticipated “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “we had a discussion about how much do we want to have the visuals informed by the original movies.” Ultimately, the two “came to the conclusion of we just gotta tell the story the visual way that we tell stories.” He adds, “we decided to be very much informed and inspired by the original movies, especially ‘Empire Strikes Back,’ but not to take any of that literally and to take it more as just an inspiration.”
This latest entry in the four-decade franchise finds Rey (Daisy Ridley) developing her newly discovered powers under the guidance of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who fears her abilities. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares for battle against the evil First Order.
When it came to their visual approach, Yedlin and Johnson wanted to avoid “spiraling on references” because “you have to prep the actual movie you’re shooting. You want to take the time to make this stuff that you’re actually doing the best it can be, not just share an appreciation for some existing art. So we spent a lot more time actually delving into the exact scenes and saying, this scene should feel like this, and the light should come from here.” Ultimately, “we dispensed with the overall conceptual stuff really quickly and kind of rolled up the sleeves and got into designing the actual scenes to tell the best story possible.”
Yedlin has worked with Johnson on all of his films, starting with “Brick” (2005) and leading to “The Brothers Bloom” (2008) and “Looper” (2012). Recent credits include “Girl Most Likely” (2012), “Carrie” (2013), “Danny Collins” (2015), and “San Andreas” (2015).