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Who Is Shooting Paul Thomas Anderson’s New Film?

Paul Thomas Anderson has had a great working relationship with cinematographer Robert Elswit, with Elswit shooting Boogie NightsMagnoliaPunch-Drunk LoveThere Will Be Blood and Inherent Vice. For The Master, Anderson worked with Mihai Malaimare Jr. As for his next film, Anderson may be handing DOP duties to someone new: himself.

Focus Features recently confirmed that Paul Thomas Anderson’s currently untitled next film (working title “Phantom Thread”), which will reunite him with There Will Be Blood star Daniel Day-Lewis, will be begin its theatrical run on Christmas Day 2017. The film is currently in the final stages of production, and most of the cast and crew have been announced to the press. However, one key crew member has remained conspicuously absent from any press announcements, the director of photography/cinematographer.

We did a little digging into this curious omission, and found out that even now, in late stage filming, there is still no director of photography credited on the film. There is only a credited camera operator: Michael Bauman, who worked as a gaffer on Anderson’s latest projects (The Master, Inherent Vice, Radiohead’s “Daydreaming”). It’s worth noting that Bauman is credited as “lighting cameraman”— a title sometimes synonymous with cinematographer; Stanley Kubrick tended used this to stylize his director of photography while he shot most of his films himself. But Anderson has never used this affiliation to denote the job before on his films. That strongly suggests Anderson himself is both directing and shooting the film, making this his first film as cinematographer in his professional career (not counting the short film The Dirk Diggler Story).

Focus Features would neither confirm nor deny this information. It is likely that in the coming months we will get an official announcement when the film gets an official title.

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David is Senior Editor and founder of Cut Print Film. His hobbies include watching movies and then writing about them on this site. David has a B.A. in English Literature and a B.K. down the street from his house.

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