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Exclusive: Matthew Libatique is Cinematographer for ‘Blade’

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It’s certainly been a long bumpy road waiting for Mahershala Ali’s Blade movie after it was announced during SDCC in 2019. Fans have been excited about the Oscar-winning actor taking over the role, but also very anxious about the news of delays and director changes, and what that might mean for the production. I’m happy to share some good news in that from what I can tell, Blade is still set to start filming this summer. In addition, I’ve learned from my sources that Matthew Libatique is set to be the cinematographer for Blade.

About Blade’s cinematographer Matthew Libatique

Matthew “Matty” Libatique is a long-time DC and Marvel movie veteran with movies like Iron Man, Venom, and Birds of Prey on his resume.

Iron Man 1 Stark and Stane
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane in Iron Man. (Marvel/Disney)

He also has a long, impressive, and varied resume which includes Black Swan, The Fountain, Mother!, Chi-Raq, A Star Is Born, and Don’t Worry Darling. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Cinematography for both Black Swan and A Star Is Born. 

Libatique is well-respected in the industry and has worked with a number of directors multiple times, most notably with Darren Aronofsky as well as Jon Favreau, Joel Schumacher, and Spike Lee. Most recently he’s reunited with actor/director Bradley Cooper to work on Maestro which filmed last year in London.

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star is Born.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star is Born. (2018) (Warner Bros)

Matthew Libatique reunited with director Darren Aronofsky to work on The Whale starring Brendan Fraser. Libatique has quite a long history of working with Aronofsky, beginning with the director’s debut film PI, released in 1998.

PI is set to make a one-day theatrical return on PI day (3/14) for its 25th anniversary this year. The film, newly remastered by A24, will show exclusively in IMAX theaters that day.  (via Collider )

Matthew Libatique quotes

Steve Weintraub of Collider interviewed Libatique back in October 2022 and asked him, “If someone has actually never seen anything that you’ve done before, what is the first thing you want them watching and why?”

Libatique: “Probably Requiem for a Dream. I think that film represents, to me, the very beginning, an ambitious beginning for me. It was a very pure experience of anything I had learned up until that point and anything I was passionate about up until that point, and in my collaboration with Darren [Aronofsky] as well. I think that movie reflects that, so I think that would be the one I’d pick.”  (via Collider)

Natalie Portman in Black Swan directed by Darren Aronofsky with Matthew Libatique as cinematographer.
Natalie Portman in Black Swan directed by Darren Aronofsky. (20th Century Fox)

More recently, The Talk’s Emma Robertson spoke to Matthew Libatique about working with Darren Aronofsky on The Whale, Olivia Wilde on Don’t Worry Darling, and his work with Spike Lee in this interview.

Libatique: “I think a cinematographer should be selfless. And that’s why I think it’s a very noble practice. Even if I’m trying to stay within the confines of the storytelling, that doesn’t mean the film can’t shine from a visual standpoint… I’ve always thought of it like when you’re a contractor or an architect and you’re building something, you’re part of that build. You take everything that you’ve experienced and try to use that to make the best possible project.

When asked how it happened that he first worked with Spike Lee, whose work he’d long admired, on She Hate Me in 2004, he said.

Libatique: “Oh, the first day I worked with him, I couldn’t believe it. I met him for the first time, and I was like, “Man, how is this happening?” (Laughs) That’s the thing that inspired me to get into cinema: Spike Lee and the idea that I, as a person of color, can also make films. And I’m fortunate that I’m in a place in my career where I can also be an inspiration for other persons of color. That’s not lost on me. I appreciate it. I think that that feeling is probably what I’m most proud of; that now you have more people of color, more gender diversity, more voices. That is such an important thing, it’s something that we should celebrate.”

When will Blade start filming?

Assuming there are no more hiccups on the road for everyone’s favorite Daywalker, Blade is expected to start filming this summer in Atlanta, GA. I’m aware there are reports that it will start in late May, unfortunately, the most recent information I have from my sources is that principal photography will start a little bit later – in late June or July. Only time will tell in today’s environment of often shifting schedules.

Blade will be helmed by Yann Demange, after replacing Bassam Tariq in the role last year. The much-anticipated Marvel film is currently scheduled to release on September 6, 2024

What do you think about this news? Let us know on Twitter @mycosmiccircus or The Cosmic Circus Discord. And for more about Blade’s story in the comics, check out the handy guides by Vin below!

Blade Comics Reading Guide

blade-reading-guide-v02-08

Blade Trades: A Collected Editions Guide 

blade-comics-trades

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Lizzie Hill

I'm a lifelong fan of sci-fi, fantasy, and comic book movies. In July 2021, I launched The Cosmic Circus as Editor-In-Chief with a small but passionate group of writers. @MsLizzieHill on Twitter and Instagram.

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