On the Record

Remi Adefarasin OBE BSC / Juliet, Naked

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On the Record

Remi Adefarasin OBE BSC / Juliet, Naked

By TREVOR HOGG

Best known for historical epics, Elizabeth, Band of Brothers and The Pacific, British cinematographer Remi Adefarasin OBE BSC learned how to develop and print black and white film from his grandfather which led to a fascination with photography. “I studied commercial and scientific photography then moved to another college to study filmmaking. I was lucky enough at the end to be invited to the BBC Film Department at Ealing Studios.”

Juliet, Naked sees Adefarasin lensing a contemporary story about an obscure rocker, Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke), encountering the long-suffering girlfriend (Rose Byrne) of an obsessive fan (Chris O’Dowd). “I had previously made About a Boy, also written by Nick Hornby, so I knew the genre. Every film is its own entity and comes with its own trials and joys. On this film we had the familiar problems of having a cast that wasn’t available when we wanted them and the tiring issue that the locations were all points of the compass.”

Stepping into the director’s chair was the original bass player and co-founder of The Lemonheads, Jesse Peretz. “Jesse is a great collaborator,” notes Adefarasin. “He has an eye for images and would make an excellent cinematographer. Jesse is also good with storytelling, actors and comedy.”

Shot lists were created for the entire film. “What Jessie and I couldn't complete together, he completed on various transatlantic flights. We used it to remind us on each day of the essential moments and how we visualised them. It’s always better to be creative in a calm place rather than a busy film set.”

The visual language for the big screen adaptation was not determined by cinematic references. “I try to make a point of not watching similar films to get inspiration. We talked about the subject and where sympathy should lie.”

Tucker Crowe (played by Ethan Hawke), Annie Platt (Rose Byrne) and Annie's partner Duncan Thomson (Chris O’Dowd)
Tucker Crowe (played by Ethan Hawke), Annie Platt (Rose Byrne) and Annie's partner Duncan Thomson (Chris O’Dowd)

Five weeks of prep were followed by 32 days of principal photography that involved no stage work. “The book took place in the Northeast of England but on the early scouts the producers decided that the location was absolutely too grim for this film; they decided to shoot on the Southeast Coast. The main location was a beautiful home situated in Broadstairs that we used for the exterior shots. We would have liked to have shot the interiors there too but finance and accessibility ruled it out. We shot the interiors in West London.”

Mother Nature was generally agreeable. “The weather mostly held up for us and we tried to use the variety to the film’s advantage.”

ARRI Rentals supplied two Alexa XTs and a Mini along with Angénieux Optimo Anamorphic zooms and ARRI Master Anamorphics that ranged from 28mm to 135mm. “Jesse loves the 2:1 ratio and it suited our film,” states Adefarasin, who captured the footage ARRIRAW. “Rose Byrne was pretty pregnant during shooting and played a woman who had decided not to have children. After day one we decided that shooting 2.39 allowed us to be higher up her body without feeling claustrophobic. There are only so many objects you can hold in front of your belly before it become tedious and we didn't want to shoot the whole film in close-ups. Clever costuming allowed us some freedom.”

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"A film is usually a montage of different images that should flow together to create a story. Therefore, I often resist in making any shot outstanding on its own. Every film has its own life, so this philosophy varies."

- Remi Adefarasin OBE BSC

“Ethan Hawke’s character, Tucker Crowe, lives in a barn which, like all our spaces in this film was a real location,” explains Adefarasin, who used lighting equipment supplied by Panalux and various LED units to put soft lighting into tight corners. “We had some day, night and dusk scenes to shoot and they all had to be shot during daylight hours. The day scenes were easier but we wanted all scenes to have a magical bohemian atmosphere. I decided on a hard shaft cutting in from outside to catch the slight atmosphere we had inside. Our gaffer Ian Barwick planned the blackouts with our rigger. For this day scene we positioned an 18K with CTS and 226 outside the window. We also had bounced 6Ks from the same side. On the opposite side we bounced an 18K of a 12x12 to put a glow through the partially obscured windows. Inside we had a very soft light coming back at Tucker. Ethan was wonderfully collaborative, especially with our young actor Azhy Robertson.”

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“A film is usually a montage of different images that should flow together to create a story,” notes Adefarasin. “Therefore, I often resist in making any shot outstanding on its own. Of course, every film has its own life, so this philosophy varies.”

Goldcrest handled the DI under the direction of colourist Rob Pizzey, while key crew members were A camera operator/Steadicam Tim Battersby, gaffer Ian Barwick, key grip Josh Close, A camera 1st assistant Tom Taylor, A camera 2nd assistant Kat Spencer, B camera 1st assistant Ben Adefarasin, B camera 2nd assistant Neil McConville, DIT Jesse Llande and camera trainee Chloe Harwood.

“The entire cast and crew were brilliant and a joy to work with. Creative collaboration in every corner.”