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J.J. Abrams and cinematographer Daniel Mindel have collaborated on just about all of the director's feature films, and according to new reports that relationship is set to continue at least through 2015. According to a site called Boba Fett Fan Club (via The Playlist), an unidentified film industry event was held in Los Angeles this afternoon where it was announced that Mindel and Abrams will be working together on the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII. And what's more, they will be shooting the movie using 35mm film instead of digital cameras.
Working as a director of photography since the early 90s, Mindel has a long list of high-profile, blockbuster credits and worked with Abrams previously on Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek, and Star Trek Into Darkness (the only film they didn't work together on was Super 8, which was shot by Larry Fong). Prior to his relationship with the Episode VII director, Mindel made a name for himself working with Tony Scott, collaborating on titles like Enemy of the State, Spy Game and Domino. His most recent non-Abrams films were Oliver Stone's Savages and Andrew Stanton's John Carter.
Those who are deeply familiar with Abrams' prior feature work likely won't be too surprised by the 35mm announcement, however. While both Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of The Sith were filmed entirely using digital cameras, Abrams has been a proponent of actual film for his entire career and has shot all of his movies in the classic format. As TheForce.net points out, we probably should have seen this announcement coming after comments that the filmmaker made at the PGA’s Produced By Conference back in June. Said Abrams at the time,
“I have not yet shot a movie digitally. Film is the thing I am most comfortable with. If film were to go away — and digital is challenging it— then the standard for the highest, best quality would go away.”
While this is the first confirmed news we've heard about Star Wars Episode VII in a while, the last few weeks have been absolutely packed with various rumors, including stories regarding the possible presence of Emperor Palpatine, a potential appearance by Ewan McGregor as Obi-wan Kenobi, and a shift from a summer 2015 release date to one in December 2015. With the filmmaker and the studio keeping mum about the project it's been hard to separate the facts from the fiction, so it's nice when we can report a straight piece of news like this.
The film is being scripted by Oscar winning screenwriter Michael Arndt, and while we have not yet heard any official casting announcements we can expect them to start popping up in the next few months. Cameras are scheduled to start rolling in early 2014, so stay tuned for all the latest updates!