Unit photography by Phil Bray, courtesy of Netflix
In this 67-minute episode, interviewer Richard Crudo, ASC talks with cinematographer Steven Meizler about his work in this inventive period drama set in the realm of grandmaster-level chess, as a rising prodigy (Anya Taylor-Joy, below) also battles her inner demons.
Learning his craft on low-budget indie features in the 1990s, Meizler worked as a camera assistant for cinematographers including Janusz Kaminski. They worked together on films from The Terror Within II and Cool as Ice to Schindler’s List, Jerry Maguire, Saving Private Ryan, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Minority Report and Munich. Later working with director-cinematographer Steven Soderberg, Meizler was 1st AC on Oceans 12, The Informant, Contagion, Haywire, Magic Mike and Behind The Candelabra.
His breakthrough as a cinematographer came with the Starz series The Girlfriend Experience, based in the feature of the same name directed and shot by Soderberg. His other TV credits include the miniseries Godless (for which he earned a 2018 Emmy nomination) and the series The OA.
For this project, Meizler relied on Red Ranger Monstro cameras paired with Zeiss Supreme Prime lenses, employing Light Iron color science.
On location in Toronto during the production of the Netflix series, Meizler kneels as he plots out a shot on Taylor-Joy and co-star Thomas Brodie-Sangster, using an Artemis Prime digital viewfinder. On far right is writer-director-executive producer Scott Frank:
Here are some additional production images with the cinematographer at work:
Interviewer Richard P. Crudo is a past president of the ASC. He gained formative experience working as a camera assistant and operator before becoming a director of photography and shooting features including Federal Hill, American Buffalo, American Pie, Outside Providence, Down to Earth and Brooklyn Rules. His television credits include the series Justified, Jane the Virgin and SWAT.
You’ll find all episodes in our ASC Clubhouse Conversations discussion series here.