How I work: Cameraman Newton Thomas Sigel
Newton Thomas Sigel has created an impressive aesthetic for a dizzying series of films, from the cult action film Drive to Spike Lee's new Vietnam War joint Da 5 Bloods. He tells CR what drives him to work in so many genres and how important the relationship between DP and director is
The role of the cameraman is the focus of every film production. Not only do they work closely with a director to bring their creative vision to life, they also have an enormous logistical and technical responsibility to hire crews and control all facets of filming. In Newton Thomas Sigel's case, in his nearly 40-year career as a DP, he created aesthetics for everything from blockbusters on a budget like the X-Men series to Freddie Mercury Biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
The common denominator of Sigel's extensive work is his passion for telling human stories, beginning with his early documentary work on the Central American wars of the 80s and his first feature film with Haskell Wexler, Latino, based on his own experience with the front line of the Nicaraguan revolution. In his latest project, Spike Lee's highly anticipated new film Da 5 Bloods, Sigel joins the circle as he approaches the immorality of the audience from the perspective of four black veterans who return decades later to search for the remains Vietnam War commemorates their fallen squad leader and the promise of a long-lost treasure.
Da 5 Bloods has been praised by critics for both its vigorous reorientation of Hollywood's historic practice of the Tuenchen war and its striking aesthetics, which blurs the widescreen footage of aging veterans when dealing with a series of mimicking flashback scenes in Vietnam. Dare for the jungle The aesthetics of the newsreel footage from this period and the depiction of younger blood – played by the same actors without decaying make-up or effects – recede into the memories they have followed over the years.
While Da 5 Bloods is released on Netflix, Sigel discusses the challenges of building the multifaceted world of film alongside Lee, the need for greater diversity in the industry, and why the process of making blockbuster films doesn't differ as much from its beginnings as Documentary filmmaker.