Director Scott Cooper discusses The Pale Blue Eye

December 10, 2022 A DGA Membership Screening Q&A in Los Angeles

A world-weary detective investigates a grisly murder in Director Scott Cooper’s gothic horror mystery, The Pale Blue Eye.

Cooper’s film brings us the story of veteran detective Augustus Landor, who is hired to delve into the murder of a West Point cadet but finds himself stalled by the cadets’ code of silence. In order to solve the mystery, he enlists the help of one of their own, a young Edgar Allan Poe.

On December 10, after the DGA membership screening in Los Angeles, Cooper discussed the making of The Pale Blue Eye during a Q&A moderated by Director David O. Russell (Amsterdam).

During the conversation, Cooper spoke about how he and his team accomplished the look of the film without detracting from the center of focus.

“We shot digitally and used some vintage lenses that because when we first spoke about the look of the film I said to [DP Masanobu Takayanagi] that I wanted to feel almost black and white, essentially a very controlled color palette. You have to really be very specific with your production design, with costumes with anything that you're going to see in the frame. It's really about making sure that we're all rowing in the same direction because so often when I see period pictures, I feel like I'm watching a movie — and I said I say this whether it's contemporary film like Crazy Heart or if it's a period like Hostiles or this — I say, ‘Look, all of those period details should recede to the background. This is all about characterization, all about location all about serving the story.’ It’s really important that they buy into that. So you have to have people who really believe in your idea and your vision of restraint.”

Cooper’s other directorial credits include the feature films Antlers, Hostiles, Black Mass, Out of the Furnace and Crazy Heart. Cooper has been a DGA member since 2008.

You can listen to Cooper's Q&A by clicking the podcast episode embedded below. You can find more DGA podcast episodes here.


Q&A photos by Elisa Haber – Print courtesy of Netflix

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