Dariusz Wolski: Shooting the Shooting in Soldado

June 20, 2018
The acclaimed cinematographer of  Sicario: Day of The Soldado speaks about his working methods, and shooting the highly anticipated sequel.  

Polish born Dariusz Wolski is one of the world’s most respected Directors of Photography, whose career spans more than two decades, on such films as Dark City, Crimson Tide, the Pirates of The Caribbean series, and various films with the likes of Ridley Scott and Tim Burton.

The DOP’s latest is the sequel to the cartel thriller Sicario, released in 2015.

The sequel brings back original stars Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro, along with new co-stars Jeffrey Donovan and Isabela Moner.

“We tried to just think of Soldado as an isolated film,” Wolski told us, on the pressures to follow up the original.

“Yes, Sicario was such a good film and it’s a lot to live up to. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins [director and DOP on Sicario, respectively].”

(Stefano) Sollima [director of Soldado], has his own unique approach to things,” Wolski added.

“We’re trying to make this a separate film whilst also paying respect to the first film. This film has a totally different story – it’s more about smuggling people than drugs.”

We asked Wolski whether he had any favourite scenes in the new film.

“All of them,” the DOP laughs.

“We have a pretty extensive night scene where helicopters find about 150 immigrants crossing the border. That was quite spectacular.”

Whilst sharing the same characters as the previous film, Wolski says he didn’t worry about trying to make the film look different.

“To be honest I don’t really think that way,” the shooter said.

“I looked at lots of photographs and great books about cartels and crime in Mexico. There’s a lot of great documentary footage. I always draw everything from reality and try to light everything as realistically as possible. Even though people call my work stylised it actually comes from reality.”

Getting the look right meant Wolski had to highlight the magnitude of the drug trade.

“I’m definitely trying to show the scale of the issue,” he told us.

“The characters are part of a big context – they’re in big environments like deserts, Mexico City and border crossings, and I’m really trying to show the scale of this. I’m excited to capture what Mexico City looks like – it has a unique flavour.”

In going after this look, Wolski had a close relationship with director Stefano Sollima.

“I respect him very much, and I love his show Gomorrah [Sollima directed multiple episodes of the acclaimed Italian TV series]. I guess the most important thing with these sorts of relationships is that you respect each other, and I think he also respects what I’m doing. It’s basically two people who admire each other trying to cooperate. I’ve really enjoyed making this film, it’s quite different to what I’ve done before. It’s refreshing.”

Sicario: Day of The Soldado is in cinemas June 28, 2018

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