Watching Wes Anderson's films can often feel like a tumble down a rabbit hole. With the opening credits comes entry into a world that's both weird and wonderful. The writer and director of movies like Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and Moonrise Kingdom has long had a point of view that is completely original — even dating back to the fifth grade, when he and a friend dramatized a Kenny Rogers album.
"We built quite a nice set," Anderson recalls. "We just performed the whole album of The Gambler with puppets playing instruments."
At Sunday's Oscar ceremony, the feel-good win of the night came when <em>12 Years a Slave </em>star Lupita Nyong'o took home the supporting-actress trophy.
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The big winner was 12 Years a Slave, but there was quite a bit of love to go around at Sunday night's Oscars. What there wasn't, as usual, was a lot of riveting television.
Sure, there was John Travolta squinting at the teleprompter and introducing Idina Menzel (to sing the Oscar-winning Best Original Song "Let It Go," from Frozen) as — no kidding — "Adele Dazeem." And there was a fun dance number featuring Pharrell Williams and his own Oscar-nominated "Happy," which he wore a formal black version of his Grammys hat to perform.
On location for <em>Walk of Shame,</em> camera crew members Larry Nielsen (center) and Milan "Miki" Janicin (right) help set up a crane shot. The wireless focus remote Nielsen will use is hanging from that purple carabiner on his jacket.
You won't believe it — I didn't — but the person responsible for keeping each and every shot of a movie in focus never looks through a camera lens.
"No," says focus puller Baird Steptoe. "We do not look through the camera at all."
Steptoe has worked as a first assistant cameraman on films from The Sixth Sense to Thor to last year's Grownups Two. He says he's learned to judge distances — precise distances — with his naked eye alone.
"I mean, I can tell you roughly from you to me right now," he says. "I would say about 2-11."
For 40 years, Dean Smith made his living as a stunt double in Hollywood Westerns — including eight Oscar winners and nominees — like True Grit, The Alamo and How The West Was Won.
"I was able to make all the leading men look good," Dean tells his wife Debby in an interview with StoryCorps. And not just men, he adds.
"One time, I doubled [as] Maureen O'Hara. I got the clothes and I got this big red wig. When I got back on the set, they laughed at me and they said my legs didn't look too much like Maureen's," he laughs.