LOS ANGELES – The prolific career and life of the legendary Gordon Willis, ASC will be the focus of American Cinematographer magazine’s October issue, which will include never-before-published excerpts from a conceptual memo on The Godfather, a pictorial spread featuring rare behind-the-scenes photos with Willis’ own comments, and personal memories from his collaborators and peers.
This is only the second time in the magazine’s history that an issue has been dedicated to a sole ASC member. Previously, the May 2003 issue was devoted to Conrad L. Hall.
“Gordon Willis had a tremendous impact on the art form, and we wanted to honor and acknowledge his contributions in a meaningful way,” said American Cinematographer Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Stephen Pizzello, author of the forthcoming book Gordon Willis on Cinematography. “If there were a Mount Rushmore for cinematographers, Gordon’s features would surely be chiseled into the rock face.”
Willis, who passed away in May, was awarded an honorary Oscar® in 2009 for his lifetime of achievements in cinematography. He was also nominated for Academy Awards® for his work onZelig and The Godfather: Part III. In addition to the Godfather trilogy, his credits include such memorable films as Klute, The Paper Chase, The Parallax View, The Drowning Pool, All the President’s Men, Annie Hall, Manhattan, Stardust Memories,Pennies from Heaven, Broadway Danny Rose, Presumed Innocent, and Malice. The ASC honored Willis with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.
The commemorative issue includes interviews with prominent directors, actors, crewmembers and admirers who worked with Willis during his career, including Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, Steven Soderbergh, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, James Caan, Jane Fonda, and ASC members Owen Roizman, Michael Chapman, Caleb Deschanel and John Bailey, among others.
In addition to the anecdotes and insights from Willis’ peers, the magazine will feature unforgettable images from Willis’ films, a Q&A chapter titled “Supervising a Set” from Pizzello’s book, and personal essays by ASC President Richard Crudo and writer Jon Boorstin, associate producer of All the President’s Men and director’s assistant on The Parallax View.
“Since Gordon Willis was one of the greatest cinematographers who ever lived, this issue promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime collector’s piece,” notes ASC President Richard Crudo. “Anyone with an interest in his work will certainly want to keep it for future reference as well as for its fascinating insights to what he was like as a man.”
The October issue of American Cinematographer is available to purchase online now in the American Cinematographer Store or on newsstands in late September.