WFE ~ Crew*

This page is devoted to the WFE film “Crew”: Specifically the Director, the Production Designer, the Cinematographer, the Screenwriter, the Costume Designer, the Editor, the Film Score Composer, the Author of Water for Elephants novel; etc. Scroll down to read their amazing CV’s~

Director ~Francis Lawrence

Francis Lawrence was born in Vienna, Austria but moved to the United States when he was three years old. He was raised in Los Angeles, California and in 1991 earned his bachelors degree in film production from Loyola Marymount University Film School. Shortly afterward he began his career shooting music videos and became well known for his original and imaginative video scripts and his visual directing style. He has become very successful directing music videos having worked with performers such as Aerosmith, Black Eyed Peas, Gwen Stefani, and most recently Lady Gaga. He has also directed numerous television commercials for many high profile clients such as GAP, Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Cover Girl. His debut as a feature film director came in 2005 for the film Constantine starring Keanu Reeves. He followed that  in 2007 with I Am Legend starring Will Smith. ***Both of these films are dark Sci-Fi thrillers, but I have no doubt that Francis will bring the necessary intimacy and warmth to Water for Elephants, which is a romantic drama. He’s assembling a great crew with Production Designer Jack Fisk, Cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, Screenwriter Richard LaGravenese and Costume Designer Jacqueline West already on board. (bio excerpts from Wikipedia) *Edited 2/19/11 to add: Over the course of filming WFE these past months Francis Lawrence has been keeping me up to date via his Twitter account. We have a nice rapport and I can rely on him for WFE news and info…

Production Designer ~ Jack Fisk
Jack Fisk is a Production Designer with over 35 years experience in the film industry. He attended high school in Alexandria, Va., and then went on to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. Jack has worked as Production Designer on all five of director Terrence Malick’s feature films; “Badlands”, “Days of Heaven”, “The Thin Red Line”, “The New World” and the upcoming “Tree of Life”. He met his wife, Sissy Spacek, while working on Badlands and worked as Art Director on Brian De Palma’s “Carrie”, in which Spacek stars. Besides his work with Malick, Jack has collaborated with director David Lynch, his childhood friend, twice as Production Designer on “The Straight Story” and “Mulholland Drive”. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction for Paul Thomas Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood”. He cited Edward Hopper’s famous painting of light-streaked storefronts, “Early Sunday Morning,” as an inspiration for the main street in that film. Also, the mansion he built in Mr. Malick’s “Days of Heaven” was modeled on “House by the Railroad,” another Hopper painting. He works on a large, even heroic scale, combining elements of architecture and anthropology. Jack Fisk has made a specialty of bringing lost worlds to life; in a more literal sense than cinematographers, production designers are responsible for the look of a film — they create its physical reality and he is one of the most fascinating unsung figures in American movies.  ***I am a longtime admirer  of Jack Fisk’s work, “Days of Heaven” is on my list of all time great films. I was ecstatic to learn that he had signed on to Water for Elephants. Under Jack ‘s extremely  capable art direction I have no doubt that the circus world, circa 1931, of WFE will be fully and beautifully realized… We are in for a visual feast! (bio excerpts from Wikipedia)

Cinematographer ~ Rodrigo Prieto
Prieto was born in Mexico City, Mexico. He became interested in filmmaking when he was 10 years old. His father lent him his 8mm Bell & Howell movie camera so he and his brother could make a film for a Halloween party. Later he worked as an assistant in a still photography studio where he learned about lighting and composition. He also worked as an apprentice in the camera department on a movie that photographer Nadine Markova shot. Soon after that project Rodrigo enrolled in film school, Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica [CCC], in Mexico City. He shot his first feature film while still in film school; it was a very low budget murder thriller. At age 22 Rodrigo began his career as Director of Photography on commercials in Mexico. He shot his first big American film, “Original Sin”, for Director Michael Cristofer; however, he had worked on numerous Mexican films before moving to the US in 2000. Prieto has become an established cinematographer, working with such big names as Spike Lee (“25th Hour”), Curtis Hanson (“8 Mile”), Oliver Stone (“Alexander”), Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Babel” and “21 Grams”) and Ang Lee (“Lust, Caution and “Brokeback Mountain”) He earned a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Brokeback Mountain. Rodrigo is most noted for his unconventional use of the camera often combined with strong moody lighting; utilizing overexposure and other techniques to create original dream-like images. Rodrigo is considered one of the hottest cinematographers working in the film industry today. ***So, with Rodrigo’s innovative photography along with Jack Fisk’s strong art direction, Richard LaGravenese’s wonderful script and Francis Lawrence’s excellent directorial skills; Water for Elephants is on its way to becoming beautifully realized! (bio excerpts from Wikipedia)

Screenwriter ~ Richard LaGravenese
LaGravenese was born in Brooklyn, NY and studied acting at New York University’s experimental theater wing at the Tisch School for the Arts. As a student, he honed his skills with dialogue and formed a New York and Toronto based comedy troupe, for which he also wrote sketches. LaGravenese supplemented his (unrelated) day job by working on the script for what became “The Fisher King” (1991) — a project reflecting his lifelong fascination with mythology. “The Fisher King” (his first script) directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams not only was a commercial success it went on to earn him an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Richard had secured his status as a premier screenwriter and script doctor and over the years has scripted numerous A-list projects with Academy Award-winning directors including Jonathan Demme, (“Beloved”), Barbra Streisand (“The Mirror Has Two Faces”), Robert Redford (“The Horse Whisperer”) and Clint Eastwood (“Bridges of Madison County”). Richard also wrote and directed “Living Out Loud”, “The Freedom Writers” and “P.S. I Love You”. Adept at adapting books into screenplays and penning original scripts LaGravenese has earned himself a reputation for writing poignant, funny and humanistic screenplays that draw the audience into the stories emotionally with an honesty that is not contrived. In 2002, LaGravenese was the recipient of the Austin Film Festival’s Distinguished Screenwriter Award.  (bio excerpts from Wikipedia)

Costume Designer ~ Jacqueline West
Jacqueline began her fashion design career in the San Fransisco Bay area of California. She owned  her own clothing stores that featured her personal line of clothing,
“Identikit by Jacqueline West”. Her first feature film work, as a creative consultant, was on the Philip Kaufman directed “Henry & June” (1990) a 1931 period drama set in Paris involving Anais Nin, author Henry Miller and his wife June played by Uma Thurman. She then went on to work on another Philip Kaufman helmed drama, “Rising Sun” starring Sean Connery, Wesley Snipes and Harvey Keitel. Next came “Quills”,  a film about the infamous writer The Marquis de Sade set in 18th Century France and starring Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, and Joaquin Phoenix. Jacqueline was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Costume Design for her work on “Quills”. The “Banger Sisters”, a modern comedy starring Goldie Hawn and Susan Sarandon, followed and after that she took on “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” a Victorian era Sci-Fi fantasy starring Sean Connery.  Jacqueline’s next costume design challenge was the 17th Century historical drama, “The New World”, starring Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer and Christian Bale. This was her first collaboration with Production Designer Jack Fisk, she went on to work with Jack again on the yet to be released film “The Tree of  Life”. Two more films “Lonely Hearts” and “The Invasion” followed before she took on the Academy Award winning film, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. This film was by far Jacqueline’s most challenging, since she had to design multiple costumes for the lead characters that spanned a 100 year time period. Not to mention costumes for 150 speaking  roles, a total of  5,000 costumes in all of which 2,000 were made the rest were hired. A massive undertaking to say the least. Her work on this film brought her a second Academy Award nomination forBest Achievement in Costume Design. Brad Pitt has called her a “method costumer” after working with her on “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. West credits her mother, who was an avant garde fashion designer in the 1940’s and 50s, for inspiring her to study fashion design. She has said that she particularly loves the styles of the 1940’s and finds that era very captivating. ***Iam beyond thrilled that Jacqueline will be designing the costumes for Water for Elephants! She is absolutely the best choice for this film, her attention to detail and uncompromising quest  for authenticity is exactly what is needed to bring this film to life. I’m ecstatic! Check out this video of her appearance on Thread Bangers. (bio excerpts from Wikipedia)

Author, Water for Elephants ~ Sara Gruen
I have devoted a separate page to Sara:
~Meet WFE Author Sara Gruen~

Film Composer ~ James Newton Howard
(profile in progress)

Film Editor ~ Alan Edward Bell
(profile in progress)

Executive Producer ~ Kevin Halloran
Producer ~ Gil Nitter
Producer ~ Erwin Stoff
Producer ~ Andrew R. Tennenbaum

Production Companies ~ Flashpoint Entertainment
Fox 2000 Pictures

Published on March 24, 2010 at 12:25 am  Comments (1)  

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Who trained the horses for the movie?

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