Meet the Director Behind The HBO Show Everyone is Buzzing About
Art and Experience:
Chernobyl is taking the TV world by storm, watch Johan Renck discusses his experience directing the miniseries, his transition from music to directing and how he focuses on the drama of real life.
What if you found your calling while doing something completely unrelated?
Johan Ranck was a musician without the money to get a director. So when it came time to make his own music video, he created it himself. But a funny thing happened.
He really enjoyed it. And he became a professional. Thankfully for all of us, he found Chernobyl, and he’s been able to access and portray the darkness, hopelessness, nihilism, and history behind the epic disaster.
BAFTA Guru has a revealing interview with Johan Renck where he talks about his process working on Chernobyl.
When Craig Mazin’s script came across his desk, and it was so good Renck simply couldn’t pass it up.
The first line we hear in Chernobyl is, “What is the cost of lies? It’s not that we’ll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all.”
Yeah so… how do you begin to capture the visuals that fit that beautiful line?
Some things I took away from the interview is how much directors dedicate themselves to projects. TV directors rarely get enough accolades for what they do. Renck traveled to Kiev and stayed there for months to shoot the show. He felt pressure to honor the real-life events and tragedy and to honor the facts.
Renck came from fiction, so this was very different for him.
Renck talks about files Mazin made that helped Renck access the deep-dive research and understand the situation and why these events happened.
In the end, the series’ defining theme is the idea of truth.
His driving force was creating an experience and authenticity to every frame so that the best lessons he learned in fiction could heighten this reality. The real hurdle was then leaning away from tropes and cliches. He had to subvert these ideas visually and keep it raw but still photographic.
Renck would ask himself, “Who is watching and why?” and compose every from that instinctual position.
Renck’s advice is to sculpt your unique voice because everything else can be taught and learned along the way. Trust in the way you feel.
So be brave, bold, and take massive risks.
What’s next? Meet the actors inside Chernobyl!
If you’re like me, then you’re obsessing over Chernobyl on HBO. The show has become the hit of the past few weeks. Each episode covers a wide spread of characters and situations, but at the center of the series are three individuals played by Jared Harris, Emily Watson, and Stellan Skarsgard. They help tie all the pieces together for the audience and are frequently the only sensible voices in the room.
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