Roger Deakins hates this iconic 'Shawshank Redemption' shot

Gregory Wakeman
Contributor
Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption

Roger Deakins is one of the most respected and renowned cinematographers working in Hollywood today.

So much so that when he finally picked up an Academy Award for his work on Blade Runner 2049, at the fourteenth time of asking no less, the cinematic community reacted uproariously.

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That’s because Deakins has received almost universal acclaim for his work on Sicario, Skyfall, Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou?, The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, and The Shawshank Redemption. In fact, the shot of Tim Robbins screaming in relief after escaping from prison in that drama has gone on to become one of the most powerful and popular images in movie history.

But it turns out that Deakins actually despises the shot, because he believes that he “over-lit it.”

90th Academy Awards - Oscars Backstage - Hollywood, California, U.S., 04/03/2018 - Roger A. Deakins holds the Oscar for Best Cinematography for "Blade Runner 2049." REUTERS/Mike Blake

“That’s one of those ones that I hate, because I over-lit it," Deakins recently told Total Film. "In the script, it was a much longer sequence. Andy comes out of the sewer pipe, goes to the river, crosses the field and there’s a whole sequence where he gets on the train.”

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“In our schedule, we only had a night to shoot the whole thing and it was like, 'That ain’t gonna happen.' So we shot him coming out of the tunnel, and struggling up the river. By the time we got all the equipment there, we did that high shot and ended on that. Because it was a good way to shorten that whole sequence. It actually works much better than the extended sequence would have done."

Despite Deakins’ own issues with the shot, The Shawshank Redemption has gone on to become one of the most popular films of the last 30 years. We’ll get to see Deakins work his magic once again in World War I drama 1917, which is actually going to consist of just one shot.