#2: "Superman Returns" [2005]

 

   


NEWTON THOMAS SIGEL   ASC

 

Born: ? August 1955, Detroit, Michigan, USA. Also cred as Thomas Sigel & Tom Sigel.

Education: Studied painting in Detroit and New York.

Career: Started as painter, culminating with an artist-in-residency at the Whitney Museum, New York.

Ph and directed doc's. Ph music videos: 'Burning Down the House' [a: Talking Heads; d: David Byrne], 'So In Love' [1991; a: K.D. Lang; d: Percy Adlon], 'Barefoot' [1991; a: K.D. Lang; d: Percy Adlon], 'Burn' [1994; a: Nine Inch Nails; d: Hank Corwin & Trent Reznor], 'I Got You, Babe' [a: UB40; d: Jonathan Demme], a.o.

Member of the ASC since 2000. Married to prod/dir Lisa Chang.

Appeared in the doc's 'X-Men Production Scrapbook' [2000], "The Second Uncanny Issue of X-Men! Making 'X2'" [2003] & 'Cinematographer Style' [2005, Jon Fauer; ph: J. Fauer, Jeff Laszlo, Brian Heller & David Morgan].

Awards: As doph: CableACE Award nom [1988] for 'Home Fires'; Independent Spirit Award nom [1996] for 'The Usual Suspects'; Online Film Critics Society Award nom [2000] for 'Three Kings'.

As dir: USA FF 'Grand Prize' [2005; shared] & Malibu FF 'Audience Award' Best Short Film [2005; shared] for 'The Big Empty'.


Newton Thomas Sigel: 'When I got out of high school, I was invited to The Whitney Museum's fellowship program in New York City. I was painting and making little films that used to be called 'experimental', 'personal', or worse yet - 'avant-garde'. It was a great time in New York and every day was filled with creative inspiration. Sometimes, I would go across the street from my studio and listen to Phillip Glass rehearse. Other days I spent hours at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, just staring at the Vermeers. On Mercer Street was the Anthology Film Archives, which showed the works of people like Kenneth Anger and Maya Deren. To make matters worse, I was enamored of the New Wave filmmakers - Godard, Resnais, Fellini, Antonioni, and the like. Everything they did seemed so fresh and invigorating, so unpredictable; they made me stop painting to focus on filmmaking.

This was also, however, a time of great political turmoil, so I inevitably gravitated toward documentaries. With Pamela Yates and Peter Kinoy, I formed a team and traveled to the most tumultuous places to make our films. In particular, the work I did photographing the wars of Central America caught the eye of the great cinematographer, Haskell Wexler.

In 1983, Haskell wanted to make a film about the secret war that Ronald Reagan was orchestrating against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. He helped get Pam and me enough money to go to Honduras. From there we walked over the border to Nicaragua and became the first people to film these secret proxy-warriors, called the Contras. The resulting documentary was the basis for Haskell's film, 'Latino'. That was what I still think of as my 'film school'.

Haskell had no business hiring me, and I was too stupid and naïve to be scared. What I did know was that I never wanted to slow him down, or have him think, "Why don't I just shoot this myself?" There was a benefit to that - learning to shoot quickly.

I expected to soak up the magic of Haskell's lighting genius, but it wasn't really the case. He felt so freed by not having to be the DP, or having a director to restrict him, that every time I tried to use a little bounce card or something, he would say, "Don't f**k with Mother Nature." I was doing my first feature and wanted to light everything, so I had to remember that he hired me for the way I used available light.

A lot of what Haskell taught me, I didn't even realize until my next project. It was a small film with Angela Bassett and Bill Cobb, and a first-time director from the theater. On the first location scout, the A.D. asked how much of the location would be seen. The director turned to me and said, "I don't know. Tom, how much will we see?" That's when I realized I was on my own.

When they started to rehearse, I found myself gravitating toward certain vantage points and visualizing the camera as if it was another performer on the set. As I helped the actors with blocking and worked out camera choreography, I realized this instinct came from my days with Haskell.

On 'Latino', he had me following actors like I was shooting a documentary - always seeing how far the shot could go, how much we could push any individual set-up and letting the movement of the camera come organically from the performers. Without my being conscious of it, Haskell had given me a foundation in staging the actors and the camera. This is something that continues to influence me every day I step on a set. For that, I will always be grateful to Haskell. If you don't like my films, well, blame him.' [From article 'Under The Influence 2006 - ICG Members Reflect On The Art And People That Inspire Them To Create Memorable Images' compiled by Pauline Rogers.]


 

 FILMS

1972

Lucifer Rising [Kenneth Anger] 16mm (+ 35bu)/c; exp short/29m; uncred ph; uncred cph: Chris O'Dell

1979

We Are the Guinea Pigs [Joan Harvey] 16mm/c; doc/91m; co-addph; ph: Tom Hurwitz

1979

Valley of Tears [Hart Perry] 16mm+v-to-film/c; doc/82m; co-addph; ph: H. Perry; filmed over a 20-year period; released in 2003

198?

The Town of Hadley [Tom Sigel] ?; doc/?m

1981

El Salvador: Another Vietnam [Glenn Silber & Teté Vasconcellos] 16mm/c; doc/53m; addph: Michael Anderson (San Francisco), Peter Schnall (New York), Miguel Ehrenberg (El Salvador), a.o.

1981

Resurgence: The Movement for Equality vs. the Ku Klux Klan [Pamela Yates & Tom Sigel] 16mm/c; doc/54m

1982

La operación [Ana Maria García] 16mm/c; doc/40m

1982

Quest for Power: Sketches of the American New Right [Saul Landau] c; doc/52m; cph: Frans Bromet & Haskell Wexler

1982

In Our Hands [Robert Richter & Stanley Warnow] 16mm/c; doc/90m; cph: Oliver Wood, Ed Lachman, Steven Fierberg, Phil Parmet, Don Lenzer, Robert Leacock, a.o.

1983

Nicaragua: Report from the Front [Deborah Shaffer] 16mm/c; doc/32m; + co-prod

1983

When the Mountains Tremble [Pamela Yates] 16mm/c; doc + dram seq/83m; film was updated in 1992

1983

Los marielitos [Estela Bravo] 16mm/c; doc/57m; cph: Judy Irola

1983

Atomic Artist [Glenn Silber & Claudia Vianello] c; doc/30m; cph: Michael Anderson & Ron Fricke; also aired on PBS-tv

1983

Latino [Haskell Wexler] c

1984

Witness to War: Dr. Charlie Clements [Deborah Shaffer] 16mm/c; doc/30m; cph: Sandi Sissel

1984

One on Every Corner: Manhattan's Greek-Owned Coffee Shops [Doreen Moss & Andrea Hull] c; doc/48m

1985

True Stories [David Byrne] c; co-2uc Texas; ph: Ed Lachman

1986

Dead of Winter [Arthur Penn] c; co-2uc; ph: Jan Weincke

1986

Platoon [Oliver Stone] c; 2uc; ph: Robert Richardson

1986

Are We Winning, Mommy? America and the Cold War [Barbara Margolis] b&w-c; doc/87m; cph: Tom Hurwitz & Stuart Math

1986

Machito: A Latin Jazz Legacy [Carlos Ortiz] b&w-c; doc/58m; addph: Jose Garcia, Ghasem Ebrahimian & Stuart Math

1986

Matewan [John Sayles] c; 2uc; ph: Haskell Wexler

1987

Wall Street [Oliver Stone] c; 2uc; ph: Robert Richardson

1987

The Thin Blue Line [Errol Morris] c; doc/103m; co-addph; ph: Stefan Czapsky & Robert Chappell

1987

Inheritance [Bill Donovan] c; doc/80m; cph: Jacek Laskus, Robert Fulton, a.o.; prod started in 1978

1987

Exquisite Corpses [Temístocles López] 16mm/c; cph: Stephen McNutt

1987

American Dream [Barbara Kopple + 3 co-dir] 16mm/c; doc/98m; co-addph; ph: Peter Gilbert, Hart Perry, a.o.; released in 1990

1988

Comic Book Confidential [Ron Mann] b&w-c; doc/90m; co-addph; ph: Robert Fresco & Joan Churchill

1988

Heart of Dixie [Martin Davidson] c; addph; ph: Robert Elswit

1988

I'm Gonna Git You Sucka [Keenen Ivory Wayans] c; addph; ph: Tom Richmond

1988

Rude Awakening [Aaron Russo & David Greenwalt] c

1989

Wild Orchid [Zalman King] c; Kansas ph; ph: Gale Tattersall

1989

No More Disguises [Tom Sigel, Pamela Yates & Boryana Varbanov] v/c; doc/6m

1989

Teatro! [Edward Burke, Ruth Shapiro & Pamela Yates] c; doc/58m; cph: Reuben Aaronson

1989

H-2 Worker [Stephanie Black] 16mm/c; doc/70m; addph; ph: Maryse Alberti

1989

Pump Up the Volume [Allan Moyle] c; addph; ph: Walt Lloyd

1990

The Doors [Oliver Stone] p/c; co-2uc; ph: Robert Richardson

1990

No Secrets [Dezsö Magyar] c; co-addph; ph: Sandi Sissel

1990

Red Hot + Blue [seg #10 (5m) 'So In Love' dir by Percy Adlon; a: kd lang] b&w-c/V; mus comp/111m; other ph: John de Borman, Ed Lachman, Declan Quinn, a.o.; this film (18 music videos + art breaks) accompanied the comp album (20 tracks) from the Red Hot Organization (an AIDS Benefit project); also an ABC-tv special

1990

Salmonberries [Percy Adlon] c

1991

Crossing the Bridge [Mike Binder] c

1991

Oliver Stone: Inside Out [Steven Fischler & Joel Sucher] c; doc/75m; cph: Martin Toub; addph: Guido Van De Vyvere

1991

Into the West [Mike Newell] c; 2uc: Des Whelan

1992

Indian Summer [Mike Binder] p/c; moose unit ph: Per-Inge Shei, K.E. Post, Len Gilday & Richard Stringer

1993

Money for Nothing [Ramon Menendez] p/c; 2uc (+ Steadicam op): Jim McConkey

1993

The Getaway [Roger Donaldson] p/c; co-2uc; ph: Peter Menzies Jr.

1993

Blankman [Mike Binder] c

1994

Suspicious [David Koepp] c; short/10m

1994

The Usual Suspects [Bryan Singer] s35/c; addph: Bruce Douglas Johnson; 2uc: P. Scott Sakamoto (+ co-Steadicam op) & Eric Goldstein

1994

Casino [Martin Scorsese] s35/c; co-2uc; ph: Robert Richardson

1995

Foxfire [Annette Haywood-Carter] s35/c

1995

Nixon [Oliver Stone] p/c; co-2uc; ph: Robert Richardson

1995

Lost in Mississippi [Jim Chambers] 16mm-35bu/b&w-c; doc/85m; cph: Douglas Cooper

1995

The Trigger Effect [David Koepp] c

1995

Blood and Wine [Bob Rafelson] c; 2uc: Michael McGowan

1996

Apt Pupil [Bryan Singer] s35/c

1996

Fallen [Gregory Hoblit] p/c

1997

Brokedown Palace [Jonathan Kaplan] c

1998

Three Kings [David O. Russell] s35/c; 2uc: Philip Pfeiffer

1999

X-Men [Bryan Singer] p/c; 2uc: Paul Sarossy & Mike Benson; ph sfx scenes: Derek Vanlint

2002

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind [George Clooney] s35/c

2002

X2/X-Men 2 [Bryan Singer] s35/c; 2uc: Gary Capo; aph (addph Hawaii): Michael Prickett & Ron Condon; miniature ph: Dave Drzewiecki; vfx ph: David Stump & Eric Swenson; Pyro crew ph: Barry Walton; + small part

2003

Valley of Tears [Hart Perry] see 1979

2003

The Brothers Grimm [Terry Gilliam] c; replaced Nicola Pecorini as 1st unit ph; 2uc: Milan Chadima; addph: Nicola Pecorini; action unit ph: Ervin Sanders; model unit ph: Nigel Stone & Peter Talbot

2004

Keep Right [Tim Godsall] HD/c; short/4m

2004

The Big Empty [Lisa Chang & Newton Thomas Sigel] s35/c; short/20m; + co-adaptation

2005

Good Night, and Good Luck [George Clooney] scheduled as ph, but replaced by Robert Elswit

2005

Superman Returns [Bryan Singer] HD (Genesis)+s35 (high-speed)-to-35mm scope (+ IMAX-70bu & D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Ross Emery; baseball unit L.A. ph: Robert LaBonge; aph (New York & L.A.): Hans Bjerno; vfx ph: Bill Neil

2005

Logan's Run [Bryan Singer or James McTeigue] pre-production; project was shelved

2006

Towelhead/Nothing Is Private [Alan Ball] HD (Genesis)-to-35mm scope/c

2007

Leatherheads [George Clooney] s35-to-35mm/c

2007

The Hurt Locker [Kathryn Bigelow] s16+HD (REDLAKE Hi-Speed)-to-35mm/c; Canada ph; ph: Barry Ackroyd

 

[Left] with actor Tom Cruise and dir Bryan Singer - "Valkyrie"

 

2007

Valkyrie/Walküre [Bryan Singer] s35-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Josh Bleibtreu & Ross Emery; aph: John Marzano; reshoots in June 2008

2007

[Superman:] Man of Steel/Superman Unleashed [Bryan Singer] announced; filmed 2011-12 by dir Zack Snyder and ph Amir Mokri

2008

Frankie & Alice [Geoffrey Sax] s35/c

2009

Prodigy [Brandon Camp] c; short/10m; prod for The Responsibility Project sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance

2009

Leap Year [Anand Tucker] p (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2uc: Howard Atherton (Dublin) & David Higgs (West of Ireland; + 2ud)

2009

The Conspirator [Robert Redford] s35 (+ D-Cinema)/c

2010

Movie 43/Truth or Dare [seg 'Happy Birthday' dir by Brett Ratner] RED-to-35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c; 14 seg; other ph: William Rexer, Daryn Okada, Matthew Leonetti, Eric Scherbarth, Mattias Andersson Rudh, Steve Gainer, Frank DeMarco & Tim Suhrstedt; released in 2013

2010

Drive [Nicolas Winding Refn] HD (ARRI ALEXA + Canon EOS 5D)-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c

2011

Jack the Giant Slayer/Jack the Giant Killer [Bryan Singer] HD (Genesis + ARRI ALEXA)+RED Epic-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema [also 3-D version] & IMAX-70bu [also 3-D version])/c; aph: Jeremy Braben & (add) John Marzano; vfx ph: Steven Hall

2011

World War Z [Marc Forster] HD (ARRI ALEXA M & Studio)+s35-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema)/c; uncred cph (finished film when R. Richardson had to leave to work on 'Django Unchained'); uncred cph: Robert Richardson; ph (reshoots November-December 2012): Ben Seresin (got sole credit as ph); 2uc: Igor Meglic & Balazs Bolygo; aph: Adam Dale & John Marzano

2012

The Seventh Son [Sergei Bodrov] HD (ARRI ALEXA)-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema [also 3-D version])/c; 2uc: Brian Pearson & Ronald Hersey; aph: Dylan Goss

2013

X-Men: Days of Future Past [Bryan Singer] HD (ARRI ALEXA M & XT)+s8+s16-to-35mm scope (+ D-Cinema [also 3-D version])/c; 2uc: Larry Blanford; aph 2u: Hans Bjerno; aph Washington DC vfx unit: Brian Heller

2015

X-Men: Apocalypse [Bryan Singer] RED Epic Dragon-to-D-Cinema (scope [also 3-D version])/c; 2uc: Larry Blanford; splinter unit ph: Sylvaine Dufaux; add splinter unit ph: Andrew Huebscher

2015

Marshall [Reginald Hudlin] c; filmed 2015-16

 

 TELEVISION & INTERNET

1982

CBS Reports: Guatemala [Martin Smith] doc/60m; for CBS News

1982

The Brazilian Connection - A Struggle for Democracy/A conexão brasileira [Helena Solberg] 16mm-to-tape/c; doc/58m; cph: Affonso Beato & Ron Zinnerman; for PBS-tv

1983

Captive in El Salvador [prod: Ofra Bikel] doc/60m; ep PBS-tv public affairs series 'Frontline' (1984)

1984

Crisis in Central America [ep #3 'Revolution in Nicaragua' prod by Martin Smith] 4-part doc special for PBS-tv public affairs series 'Frontline' (1985)

1984

What About Mom and Dad?/Our Aging Parents [prod: Ofra Bikel] doc/60m; for PBS-tv public affairs series 'Frontline' (1985)

1985

Will There Always Be an England?/The Other England [prod: Ofra Bikel] doc/60m; ep PBS-tv public affairs series 'Frontline' (1986)

1987

Home Fires [Michael Toshiyuki Uno] 2-part tvm; 2uc: Sandi Sissel

1987

Tales from the Hollywood Hills [ep 'Pat Hobby Teamed with Genius' dir by Robert C. Thompson, 'Natica Jackson' dir by Paul Bogart & 'A Table at Ciro's' dir by Leon Ichaso] 6-part PBS-tv series; 2uc: Sandi Sissel

1987

Power, Passion and Murder [Paul Bogart & Leon Ichaso] tvm/102m; comp of 'Natica Jackson' & 'A Table at Ciro's'

1987

[Ann Magnuson's] Vandemonium Plus [Tom Sigel, Tom Rubnitz & Stephen Oakes] doc/43m

1987

Perfect People [Bruce Seth Green] tvm

1987

The Wonder Years [pilot dir by Steve Miner, #2 'Swingers' dir by Neal Marlens & Carol Black & #3 'My Father's Office' dir by Jeffrey Brown] 115-part series/16mm, 1988-93; 1st season, 1988; other ph: Sandi Sissel (+ c.op #2-3)

1987

Doll Day Afternoon [Sandy McLeod] tvm/4m; seg NBC-tv series 'Saturday Night Live'

1989

Roe vs. Wade [Gregory Hoblit] tvm

1989

Martin Scorsese Directs [Joel Sucher & Steven Fischler] doc/56m; cph: Joan Churchill, Martin Toub, a.o.; ep PBS-tv series 'American Masters'

1989

Challenger [Glenn Jordan] tvm

1989

Rock Hudson [John Nicolella] tvm

1990

Cop Rock [pilot dir by Gregory Hoblit] 11-part series

1990

Turner & Hooch/The Kid [Donald Petrie] pilot/30m; for NBC-tv

1990

A Promise to Keep [Rod Holcomb] tvm

1991

Murder in High Places [John Byrum] tvm

1991

A Comedy Salute to Michael Jordan [Paul Miller] special/60m; cph: Dick Sato, Emmett Wilson, Hector Ramirez, a.o.

1992

Daybreak/Bloodstream [Stephen Tolkin] tvm

1994

A Time to Heal/Jenny's Story [Michael Toshiyuki Uno] tvm

1994

TV Nation/The Naked Eye [Michael Moore] 17-part comic investigative series, 1994 (NBC-tv) & 1995 (Fox-tv); other ph: Tom Hurwitz, Hart Perry, a.o.

1995

In the Beginning: The Creationist Controversy [Cynthia Malek & Jack Ginay] 2-part doc/112m; + co-ed; revised and aired again in 2001

 

[Right] with dir John Frankenheimer - "Ambush"

 

2000

Ambush [John Frankenheimer] s35/c; short/6m; seg of 5-part internet film series 'The Hire' for carmaker BMW

2004

House M.D. [pilot dir by Bryan Singer] 176-part series/s35-to-HD, 2004-12; 1st season, 2004-05; other ph: Walt Lloyd & Roy H. Wagner

2014

Battle Creek [pilot 'The Battle Creek Way' dir by Bryan Singer] 13-part series/HD (Sony F55), 2015

2014

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny/Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend [Yuen Woo-ping] RED Epic Dragon/c; for Netflix

 

 FILMS & TELEVISION AS [2U] DIRECTOR

198?

The Town of Hadley [+ ph] see Films

1981

Resurgence: The Movement for Equality vs. the Ku Klux Klan [co-d; + ph] see Films

1987

[Ann Magnuson's] Vandemonium Plus [co-d; + ph] see Television & Internet

1989

No More Disguises [co-d; + ph] see Films

2002

Point of Origin/In the Heat of Fire [tvm] ph: Anthony Nakonechnyj

2004

House M.D. [ep #4 'Maternity'; tv-series, 1st season] ph: Walt Lloyd

2004

The Big Empty [co-d; + co-adaptation/ph] see Films

2006

House M.D. [ep #50 'Lines in the Sand'; tv-series, 3rd season] ph: Gale Tattersall

2009

Eat Pray Love [Ryan Murphy] 35mm (+ D-Cinema)/c; 2ud Italy; ph: Robert Richardson