Clubhouse Conversations — Nope

Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, ASC, FSF, NSC is joined by interviewer James Whitaker, ASC for this episode on his work in Nopethe strange and spectacular sci-fi horror feature from writer-director Jordan Peele.


In Nope, brother and sister Otis "OJ" Haywood Jr. (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald "Em" Haywood (Keke Palmer) attempt to gather evidence of an extraterrestrial creature lurking in the skies above their family-owned horse ranch. The film features a wealth of eye-popping set pieces — some of which are unpacked, here — but perhaps its most daunting challenge was in how the cinematographer would shoot their night-time sequences with no available light.

In this interview, van Hoytema breaks down how he solved this problem — mounting two cameras on decommissioned 3D-stereo camera rigs, and aligning the cameras so that both could capture the same images in a way that would allow for each frame to be seamlessly overlaid in postproduction. He also shares how he connected with Peele to collaborate on Nope; his views on shooting naturalistic exterior lighting; how he and Peele approached the film's much-buzzed-about "monkey scene," and other insights on bringing this singular sci-fi vision to life.


Hoyte Van Hoytema, ASC graduated from the Łódź Film School in Poland, where, soon after, he started out in filmmaking by shooting documentaries. His storied career as a cinematographer includes such acclaimed features as Let the Right One In (2008), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), Her (2013), Interstellar (2014), Spectre (2015) and Ad Astra (2019).

James Whitaker, ASC began his cinematography career shooting commercials, and has since shot hundreds of spots for clients Nike, Google, Mercedes-Benz, Amazon and many more. His film and TV credits as a director of photography include Thank You for Smoking (2005), Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015) and the Marvel miniseries Hawkeye (2021).

You’ll find all episodes in our ASC Clubhouse Conversations discussion series here.