SPOILERS - unless you have seen Logan, it is advised that you don't proceed.
John Mathieson had the task of showcasing the final moments for Wolverine on the big screen. Shooting the conclusion where Logan would be giving Laura some parting advice before saying his farewell. The emotional ending will live on in Marvel folklore for years to come, and so would the cinematographer that portrayed this vision to the audience.
There would barely have been a dry eye in the house of cinemas up and down the country, no less the world, as Hugh Jackman and Dafne Keen closed the chapter in the most powerful of fashions. With director James Mangold preferring to use one camera at a time, it would be Mathieson who revealed to Heat Vision that he shot the death scene.
Saint Hugh Could Have Gone Again If Necessary
As the tears began to flow on set, it was up to the people holding the cameras to ensure that they captured their performances without a blemish to speak of.
"It's very important to get into the eyes of both of them," said Mathieson. "The tears are going to come. You don't just shoot Hugh and go, 'That was very nice. Now let's shoot Dafne.' Because they are giving it their all. They will be drained. Jim is a very much a one-camera man, but I didn't even look back at him. I'm sure he got cross at me, but I think he'd agree that whatever is going to happen is going to happen. You better make sure you get it on two cameras.
If you have a great performance on one side and they are doing marvelous things and you don't have the other side at the same time — a hand goes here or someone brushes hair out of someone's face — then it's very difficult to re-create that. Then you have the script supervisor coming in, 'Oh you had this in your left hand and your tear came here.' You just can't do that to people."
Had to Film in the Moment
Despite Jackman's impressive stamina in those final moments, the cinematographer made the point that they had to get the scene when the actors were at their peak, otherwise all momentum will be lost on the reshoots.
"Hugh's got the patience of a saint. He's great and he'd never complain about anything. He'd do it again, and again and again. But it was still hard for him and it was hard for her. They had to dance together on this one. You're treading carefully around them and kind of impressing the crew with, 'Are you ready for this? Because it's going to happen once — and you've got to have your focus.' It's a real moment, it's a real piece of emotion. It's a real performance and it really happened at that time — and you can't drain people too much to do that again and again. They were great. You knew when you got it. And you knew you could feel it easing off as well. 'Let's go again. Let's go again.' It was diminishing returns. 'You know what? Two takes before was the one.'"
Charles Freeze Was Rough On The Cameramen Too
Shaking and shifting the camera to bring across the impact of Charles Xavier's earthquakes caused by his mind, Mathieson admitted that they had a little help from special effects to make it possible, but it was not without it's challenges.
"It was a very physical effect with the camera. It was doctored in CGI, but basically the camera is shaken very violently and then we zoomed in and stabilized the images afterward, which gave it that weird, blurry, sonic kind of horrible, screeching, sound distorted visualization of what it's like when he emits the pulse that makes everyone catatonic. That was a physical thing, which I think feels far more tactical and tangible than some other films."
The opening scene could go down as one of the most violent in cinematic history, but the cinematographer remarked that there was a hidden tribute in there.
"It's all kind of purple. I did a lot of work with Prince and he'd just died, so I thought I'd give it a bit of a purple light. It was a little tribute to him. We used to call him his Purple Holiness and all these funny little names. I did eight videos with him, and it was a bad year for losing great people."