3D a ‘Flash in the Pan’ — ‘Inception’ Cinematographer

Wally Pfister talks “The Dark Knight Rises,” the secret Kubrick homage in “Inception” and why he and director Christopher Nolan are sticking to two dimensions

There's a good reason Christopher Nolan has announced he won't shoot the upcoming "Dark Knight Rises" in flavor-of-the-month 3D.

His go-to director of photography Wally Pfister says it's probably just a "flash in the pan."

"I'm not a big fan of 3D," Pfister (photograph by Jonathan Alcorn) said to audience applause at a question-and-answer session at TheWrap's "Inception" screening of Nolan and Pfister's "Inception" Thursday night at the ArcLight Sherman Oaks.

Also read: 'The Dark Knight Rises' Won't Be in 3D

"I think one of the biggest problems for Chris, and I would second this, in doing a film in 3D is it has to be shot in a video process, and we're film people to the end. You'll have to pry that film camera out of my dead hands," he told TheWrap Editor-in-Chief Sharon Waxman.

Pfister did say there was "some interest on the studio's level to do 'Inception' in 3D" but: "Chris wasn't interested in doing post-effect on the film in 3D."

"The so-called digital revolution is great. If you have no money and you want to shoot it on your Canon 5D — fantastic. If that's the only way you can make the movie, great. But if we're putting movies up on a screen this size … we need to deliver the best image quality there. And there's nothing better than film."

Pfister said he and Nolan hope to shoot much of the new Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises," for IMAX — as they did for sporadic parts in "The Dark Knight." But they won't shoot the entire film for IMAX, he said, citing cost and the inability to capture sound as just two of the impediments.

Although he hasn't officially signed on for "Dark Knight Rises," Pfister has shot all of Nolan's films since "Memento" and looks to have the job if he wants it. Before the Q-&-A, he brushed off online speculation that the film would shoot in New Orleans, and said he doesn't expect to see the script until early next year.

But he endorsed a bit of "Inception" speculation, namely that it contains a thorough Stanley Kubrick homage.

He said in response to an audience question that the rotating hallway in the hotel fight sequence harkens the spinning centrifuge in "2001," and that Ken Watanabe's old man at the end of "Inception" seems to recall the one in "2001."

"If you know enough about Chris you know that Stanley Kubrick is really one of his heroes," Pfister said.

He also said Nolan, one of the few auteur directors of blockbusters, is anything but overbearing when it comes to setting up shots.

"I think we both feel the camera finds its way and the camera ends up in the right place," he said. "Not that it does it by itself. But I think that the narrative sets the tone for that and the actors' rehearsal kind of guides where the camera's going to go from there.

"I think we both believe… we have the same sort of philosophy about how that should be done and that is that the camera should follow the narrative and the performance and not lead it and not be grandstanding."