Jostling with Batman for our attention this morning is some very big news from the Star Wars-verse. J. J. Abrams' cinematographer of choice, Dan Mindel, has signed up to shoot Star Wars Episode VII. And Mindel confirmed at an ASC breakfast in Los Angeles that it will be filmed entirely in anamorphic 35mm.
This marks a big step away from the high-def veneer of George Lucas's last two digitally-shot prequels, and a thrilling return to the scruffier, earthier look of the originals. Abrams is clearly looking to recapture the look and feel of A New Hope, a vinyl aesthetic in an MP3 age. It's a prospect that should have Star Wars fans nerding out.
There was a clue or two earlier this year when Abrams told the Producers Guild conference that, "If film were to go away then the standard for the highest, best quality would go away. I have not yet shot a movie digitally. Film is the thing I am most comfortable with.”
In his passion for celluloid Abrams has a long-established accomplice in Mindel. The pair have worked together on Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. Mindel also shot Enemy Of The State for Tony Scott, Savages for Oliver Stone and John Carter for Andrew Stanton.
For more on Abrams' philosophy head over to this fascinating piece on Digital Content Producer.com, in which he discusses his rationale for sticking with celluloid on his Star Trek reboot. “I wanted this movie to feel real,” Abrams explained. “I’m not saying you can’t be real with digital. But with film, for me, there was such a familiarity and comfort to it, a real warmth. We wanted to avoid coldness and any unnatural sense of perfection."