Clubhouse Conversations — Ripley

Editors’ note: In-depth coverage of cinematographer Robert Elswit, ASC’s work on Ripley will appear in American Cinematographer's upcoming July 2024 issue. Learn more here about how to subscribe to the industry's leading journal of motion-picture production techniques.

In this episode, cinematographer Robert Elswit, ASC is joined by interviewer Caleb Deschanel, ASC to discuss his work on Ripley — the neo-noir thriller series about a cunning con artist's criminal exploits in 1950s Italy.

Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 crime novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, Ripley delves into the seedy world of Tom Ripley (Andrew Scott), a grifter who is hired to convince Dickie Greenleaf (Johnny Flynn), a wealthy bohemian, to return home from Italy to his father, Herbert (Kenneth Lonergan). As Ripley finds himself drawn to Dickie's charmed lifestyle, his petty conniving snowballs into greater crimes of fraud and murder. Elswit shot the entirety of the series, which spans eight episodes.

In this interview, Elswit discusses how he developed and delivered the show's black-and-white cinematography; the influence of Baroque painter Caravaggio on his lighting choices; his embrace of spontaneity whenever on set; and the crew's meticulous preparation for the production of each episode.

Robert Elswit, ASC is a cinematographer whose works include Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Punch-Drunk Love (2002), Good Night, and Good Luck (2005) — for which he was nominated for an Academy Award — and There Will Be Blood (2007), for which he won an Academy Award.

Caleb Deschanel, ASC
is a cinematographer whose feature credits include The Right Stuff (1983), The Natural (1984), National Treasure (2004), Jack Reacher (2012), and The Lion King (2019).

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