The eyes have it

Veteran cinematographer Conrad Hall will choose 'right' over 'special' any day

The Hall-Mendes-Dreamworks connection will continue with the theater director's sophomore effort, a script featuring Tom Hanks and Wes Bentley as Montana brothers that will begin filming in October. Hall says he is keeping his schedule clear to accommodate Mendes and the crew, because he feels grateful that American Beauty was the apex of years of "being allowed to be picky about what I do." His affinity for that project bore strange and haunting fruit. When told that, in fact, it is his cinematography and Thomas Newman's score that enable Alan Ball's clever if surface script to burrow into you, Conrad Hall beams out enough pride from West Hollywood to melt your ear into the receiver.

"I'm glad to hear you say that," he says, taking a moment to enjoy some credit. "And certainly, the photography and music in other movies is more complex, more special. What we did in American Beauty wasn't elaborate, it was just..." He pauses to fumble for an adjective. "It got under your skin because it was right."

Conrad Hall: shadows and light and stories
Conrad Hall: shadows and light and stories
Annette Bening tries to make the damned spot go "out, out!" in American Beauty, photographed by Conrad Hall.
Annette Bening tries to make the damned spot go "out, out!" in American Beauty, photographed by Conrad Hall.
Speaks at a screening of In Cold Blood

April 28,
7:30 p.m.

USA Film Festival AMC Glen Lakes
9450 N. Central Expressway

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By Jimmy Fowler

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