FILM :: STRANGE FAR PLACES EXCLUSIVE… INTERVIEW WITH “YOU’RE NEXT” CINEMATOGRAPHER ANDREW DROZ PALERMO

Slasher genre-bender “You’re Next” opens nationwide today. I have very much been looking forward to this film. You can read my film preview here.


In that preview, I mentioned a very talented gent helming cinematography on the film, Andrew Droz Palermo. I caught up with Andrew this week and got his thoughts on “You’re Next,” working in the horror genre and cinematography at large.

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Photo: Whitney Hayward

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STRANGE FAR PLACES (SFP) :: How was it working on “You’re Next?”

ANDREW DROZ PALERMO (ADP) :: Shooting the film was an amazing experience. I’m forever grateful to the director Adam Wingard, and the producers Simon Barrett, Keith Calder and Jess Wu for even giving me the chance. Particularly for a first-time cinematographer.

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SFP ::   I have always thought that working on a film like “You’re Next” (especially one so stylish and smart) from the horror genre would be a blast. What was the coolest thing about it?

ADP :: Shooting the kill scenes and jump scares were a blast. Adam was really specific about what he wanted and we were able to storyboard out key scenes to really make them sing. I loved seeing them edit together in my head, knowing we were getting all the pieces we wanted, and that it was going to make some really fun scenes. I also could just sit and listen to Joe Swanberg and A.J. Bowen riff for hours. Those guys are amazing actors, but also just so, so funny.

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SFP ::   What was the toughest thing aboutworking on this production?

ADP :: The toughest for me was getting everything we needed within the time scheduled. With ten characters in a scene, there are a million things you want to shoot, and I wanted to give Adam enough coverage so he could edit it together in the way he imagined. Thankfully the camera, and G&E team was really hardworking and fast and that allowed us a lot of time shooting, with very little downtime in between setups. Plus, it was like 25 nights straight of shooting from 8 PM to 8 AM.

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SFP :: You had some experience working in horror before with your work on “V/H/S.” Do you like working in the genre? Are you a horror fan at all? Will you do horror again?

ADP :: I love horror film, and have had a great time shooting it. I’m certainly not as versed in the genre as Adam and Simon, but I feel like I’m in the horror section of Netflix pretty often. I’d love to shoot some again, I’ll start reading scripts for 2014 in the next few months.

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SFP :: What films were the most influential on you as a visual thinker and storyteller?

ADP :: For “You’re Next” Adam and I looked at a lot of action films. The film has more of that pedigree than it lets on, I guess. Or maybe it was what we wanted to brush up on the most, perhaps what we were most unfamiliar with making ourselves at that point. I think our biggest visual touch point for the film was “Michael Clayton.” It’s a weird one to pick, because it doesn’t seem related, but that lighting in that film is just so beautiful and dark, and the camera is always so deliberate. The Dardenne brothers are always a big touchpoint for me. I love their stories and the manor in which they tell them.

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From Michael Clayton ::

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From the Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne ::

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SFP :: What else should we be watching out for from you?

ADP :: I’ve been co-directing a documentary for the last couple of years with my cousin Tracy Droz Tragos called “Rich Hill.” It follows three kids coming of age in rural Missouri. We’re really excited with the progress, getting ready to launch a Kickstarter, and are nearing picture lock – fingers crossed we’ll be premiering in early 2014.

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SFP :: THANK YOU!

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A VERY special thank you to Andrew for his time. SEE THIS FILM!

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Author: David Edward Johnson

A bit about me :: My name is David Johnson. I'm a senior creative with over 20 years of experience. I am currently serving as the Director of User Experience and Product Design at Inmar. Previously, I have served as the Global Digital Creative Director for Whole Foods Market, several agencies at the VP level and co-owned my own agency in New York for seven years. I love genre film, a full range of music, art, kung fu, TM, design, good food and a great joke. I'm based in Austin, Texas and addicted to BBQ.

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