On location high up in the Hollywood Hills shooting the fractured-time neo-noir The Limey (1999) are (from left) operator Ray De La Motte, 1st AC Mike Hall, 1st AD Gregory Jacobs, director Steven Soberbergh and cinematographer Edward Lachman, ASC. This photo was taken by esteemed unit photographer Bob Marshak.
The Limey stars Terence Stamp as a British ex-con out to avenge his daughter’s death and pays homage to the fractured, shifting story perspective and dislocation of characters of 1960s neo-noir thrillers such as Get Carter and Point Blank.
Lachman used a handheld camera and expressionistic color palettes for the film’s locations, which established a strong tone for the actions of the characters.
“Ed was an influence on me before we even met,” Soderbergh told American Cinematographer when discussing his work with the cinematographer on this film and the subsequent Erin Brockovich (2000). “He’s the best kind of obsessive: curious, enthusiastic, unpretentious and, best of all, thrilled to share his ideas and experiences. His passion is infectious; when you’re in close proximity to an artist with his level of dedication, technical skill, courage and imagination, it’s impossible not to be inspired and excited by the work at hand.”
Shooting film, Lachman relies on Polaroids to determine his lighting and contrast ratios. “Ed used the Polaroid extensively when we were working together, and he’d be so caught up in looking at the result he’d just let the discarded backing fall wherever he was standing or walking,” Soderbergh continues. “We referred to these as ‘Lachman droppings,’ and the image of all of us trailing him to pick them up still makes me laugh. I’m thankful for his great work, and even more thankful for his friendship and guidance.”
Lachman is being honored this year with the ASC’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be presented at the 31st annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards on February 4.
An extensive career profile piece on Lachman will appear in the upcoming February issue of AC.
A feature story on the making of The Limey was published in the November 1999 issue of AC.