Black or White / Russ Alsobrook, ASC

Episode #66

Black or White / Russ Alsobrook, ASC


Russ Alsobrook, ASC discusses his approach to the drama Black or White, in which a grieving widower struggles to retain custody of his young granddaughter in the wake of his wife’s death. Alsobrook explains why the filmmakers made last-minute decisions to go digital and to shoot widescreen, how they made the most of the 2.40:1 frame, and how he used lighting to illuminate the story’s complicated emotional terrain.

  • Eloise (Jillian Estell) enjoys a visit with her grandmother, Rowena (Octavia Spencer).
  • Elliot (Kevin Costner) pays Rowena (Octavia Spencer) a visit in South Central L.A.
  • Elliot (Kevin Costner, right) sits in on a session between his granddaughter, Eloise (Jillian Estell), and her tutor, Duvan (Mpho Koaho).
  • Rowena’s son Jeremiah (Anthony Mackie) introduces her (Octavia Spencer) to his fellow lawyers as they prepare her case.
  • Rowena (Octavia Spencer) and Jeremiah (Anthony Mackie) confer in the courtroom.
  • Actor/producer Kevin Costner and cinematographer Russ Alsobrook, ASC, confer on the set.

About the Project

Directed and written by Mike Binder, Black or White focuses on the child-custody battle that takes shape between Elliot (Kevin Costner), an attorney, and Rowena (Octavia Spencer), a self-made businesswoman, over Eloise (Jillian Estell), the bi-racial grandchild they have in common, after Eliot’s wife dies in an accident.

About the Cinematographer

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Russ Alsobrook, ASC, has been the director of photography on the hit television series New Girl since 2011. His credits also include the movies Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Superbad and Reign Over Me, as well as episodes of the series Big Love, Undeclared and Freaks and Geeks.

American Cinematographer interviews cinematographers, directors and other filmmakers to take you behind the scenes on major studio movies, independent films and popular television series.

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