Hanelle M. Culpepper - director
Royal Blood will be photographed with a stealthily prowling camera, a metaphor for the flowing blood which is so central to the film. Fluid steadicam shots will establish location. The shots will smoothly transition into moving masters that bring the viewer into coverage. The strategy will be a key visual motif of the film.
Imagine the elegant steadicam shot from "Downtown Abbey" that starts as
low dolly behind the feet of the servants and reveals a car approaching, then booms
up and swings around the car as it parks revealing a close-up of the passenger.
Imagine the infamous shot from "Gone With the Wind" that moves from the
ravaged faces of soldiers and an exhausted Scarlett into the air to reveal the
mass of bodies and finally settles on a battered flag.
Imagine the long opening tracking shot from "Touch of Evil" that starts with
a close-up of a man setting a bomb and follows him as he plants it in a car,
rises up as the car pulls away, tracks back with the car through traffic and
pedestrians, bringing us to our heros walking on the sidewalk, settling briefly for a
conversation before the explosion off camera.
These are just a few of the examples of the camera moves with which I intend to bring our story to life. I want the viewer to both observe and participate without cutting to coverage in the traditional way. The camera never stops until Bathory is stopped, imprisoned in her room of mirrors, forced to endlessly contemplate her dying beauty.
Most of our story takes place in winter which allows for a stark, barren look. I like contrasting the white with a shock of color, preferably red. For interiors, our colors will be warm and rich, like an oil painting created in the same era as the story.
Barren white landscape
White exteriors with pops of red
Warm and rich interiors
Inspired by Baroque and Tenebrists artists like Caravaggio, Rubens, La Tour and Artemisia, lighting will be in the chiaroscuro style – dramatic, strong contrast, lots of shadows and darkness. The lighting style will amp up the thriller aspect of our story versus other period pieces. The choice is rooted in the fact that light was provided by candles and torches at the time of our story.
We will use numerous high-angle shots to show off exterior architecture and imply Bathory's dominance. Low-angle interior shots will proclaim scope and power. Bathory's obsession with her beauty and flawlessness will be shot in close-up with narrow depth of field. We will frequently use architectural frames to "mirror" the idea of a mirror frame, Bathory's unyielding critic. Framing shots this way will also metaphorically speak to the suspicion that Bathory was "framed" for her alleged crimes.