When cinematographer Larkin Seiple first saw the script for Everything Everywhere All At Once he thought: This is very long and how in the world are we going to shoot this? But having worked with directing team Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (known collectively as Daniels) for ten years, he knew the film would be unique, creative and fun. Larkin loves telling stories through the medium of film, and Everything Everywhere explores the multiverse concept as the most ridiculous, messy, scary, poignant, and mind-blowing place.
Everything Everywhere All At Once contains many different scenes referencing dozens of films with a multitude of looks. Larkin loved creating so many mini movies, and he had specific ideas for the lighting and continuity for most of the universes- changing up the lighting, lenses and even the aspect ratios for each universe and what it was referencing. In order to keep to any kind of schedule or budget, the team needed to shoot as much as possible in one location. They shot primarily in two places- a giant empty office building with the atrium, stairway, elevator and cubicles in Simi Valley, and DC Stages in downtown LA, which gave them about 40 different sets to choose from. Principal photography was 36 days, mostly in the Simi Valley office building. The Daniels always scout things in advance and try to find the best locations for the budget, which was about $15 million- not a lot for such an ambitious movie. Larkin had to creatively and carefully compose shots so that the office location didn’t seem like a big empty space, and focused on small details and transitions, shooting scenes as efficiently as possible. Fortunately, a lot of sets in the office building were already there, leftover from other film shoots, such as the elevator set and the kinky office sex room, which allowed them to add it into the movie. Directors Daniels often writes a script with just the bare bones of what they’re looking for, with only a line for action, such as “fanny pack fight,” leaving it up to Larkin and the fight coordinators to decide how to shoot it. They operate as a sort of hive mind, and each Daniel really knows how the movie cuts together in their head.
Once he completed film school, Larkin realized that, unlike a director, as a cinematographer he could work on many different projects per year. He enjoys the collaborative element of filmmaking and started his career as a gaffer and electrician. He realized that if he wanted to become a cinematographer, he needed to quit doing side projects as a gaffer or electrician to concentrate on only working and shooting as a DP. Larkin began shooting music videos and beauty commercials, until he was able to make a living off of shooting commercials, while picking and choosing what music videos he wanted to do. Working on music videos led him to meeting the Daniels. One of their most memorable music videos is Turn Down For What by DJ Snake and Lil Jon, which stars Dan Kwan- ½ of Daniels- as one of the main performers in the video. Another noteable video Larkin shot was This Is America by Childish Gambino (Donald Glover), directed by Hiro Murai.
After working on several music videos together, Larkin shot the Daniels first feature, Swiss Army Man. Swiss Army Man is a strange and surreal movie about a man (Paul Dano) stranded on a deserted island who befriends a dead body (Daniel Radcliffe) that washes ashore. Hank is able to use the dead body to get off the island and he begins to find his way home, believing that the dead man is talking to him and helping him stay alive. They shot in Los Angeles, the woods near San Francisco, and up in Humboldt County under the giant redwoods, with a tiny crew. Actor Daniel Radcliffe was very enthusiastic about playing the dead man, and even though they had a corpse dummy for the film, he refused to let them use it. He was in every scene as the dead guy with Paul Dano, even when just playing dead.
Most recently, Larkin shot all eight episodes of the Starz television show Gaslit, a political drama that follows the intrigue around the Nixon White House during Watergate in the 1970’s. Larkin has been Emmy nominated for his work on the series.
Find Larkin Seiple: http://www.larkinseiple.com/
Everything Everywhere All At Once is still playing in some theaters and is available to rent or buy on VOD.
The series Gaslit is streaming on Starz.
Find out even more about this episode, with extensive show notes and links: https://camnoir.com/ep178/
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