Anton Corbijn
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About Anton Corbijn

Anton Corbijn is widely known as an influential portrait photographer, having worked with numerous musicians, painters, directors, actors, and writers over the last 35 years. There have been more than 10 books of his work published since 1989. He also works as a graphic designer, a stage-designer and as a director of about 80 music videos and shorts since 1983. 2007 saw the release of his first feature film, CONTROL, which won him many awards.


Order Anton's new book, INSIDE THE AMERICAN, a collection of photographs from the making of the film.



THE AMERICAN blog by Anton Corbijn

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Inside The American

Posted August 19, 2010

As with my first feature, CONTROL, where I put the photographs I had taken during the making of the film into a book ('In Control'), I also put the images I took on the set into a book: INSIDE THE AMERICAN.

It consists of more than 100 photographs plus my handwritten notes and some drawings indicating camera positions at certain scenes. It is just too difficult to leave my stills camera at home and although there are days that I have absolutely no time to take a single picture on set, there are other days that I take a couple of pictures. Either of a scene or of something off set. Whatever catches my eye and wherever I have a few spare seconds. Making a film is so incredibly time and emotion consuming that I find it very therapeutic to catalogue this period in my life. And that is why I made this book, for myself. As a visual memory to a deep and new experience.

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A Funny Moment

Posted August 10, 2010

Sometimes you sit in a cafe and you read the paper. Great. Then someone comes in and bothers you. Annoying. Happens a lot to me but I still won't call this film autobiographical. The scene in this photo has actually quite a funny moment in it.

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Jack's Italian Hide-Out

Posted August 02, 2010

Being a gun specialist requires special equipment and Jack  managed to get the right tools from the right places in his small Italian hide-out.  The photo shows him in his apartment amending some bullets for a special occasion.  His apartment for the film was a great location; small but we used it all.  It was an important place for me, for the film.  The one where we sense his mindset the most, the place where Jack is seen at his most reflective.

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Welcomed Back With Open Arms

Posted July 19, 2010

We shot some new stuff, at a late stage, at the same locations in Abruzzo. You'd think the people there would have been happy to see the last of us the first time but no, they welcomed us back with open arms. We managed to get most of the same crew together for these few days of shooting and it also brought us a new face to the film: veteran belgian actor JOHAN LEYSEN. It was a wonderful experience and Johan's work in the film will be the icing on the cake. George Clooney is the only american in the film so he can call himself the American with full justification. Here is George last autumn, recording sounds of lambs on his iphone. Never a dull moment.

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George - Always Ready

Posted July 06, 2010

It might be in George's character or down to his experience as a director, but you could never fault him for not understanding what is needed from an actor on set. He was always ready before you were and ALWAYS on set. Never in his trailer. It cannot be emphasised enough what a gift that is to a director, and to a film. In this photograph he is killing time by playing cards with his body guard in the bar in Castel del Monte.

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Posted June 21, 2010

People sometimes ask me when hearing I make movies whether "I feel blessed" and this photograph (taken with my camera by our set photographer Giles Keyte) seems to suggest a positive answer. Sure I feel blessed but it looks like I need all the help I can get. Paolo Bonacelli is the man on the left, helping me out on his lunch break. I am the guy on the right trying to get some help. I think it is working.

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George Clooney On The Set

Posted June 07, 2010


Sometimes my work is so serious people assume not only that I am too but also that my work surroundings are like that. Not so, especially not with George Clooney around. He keeps everyone's spirits high in between takes. The above photograph shows him playing music from his ipod thru a megaphone and himself and Thekla moving and grooving to it. The one below is taken a few seconds before we roll but GC will never be not be ready when the camera is switched on. It amazed me really.


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The Current Edit

Posted May 24, 2010

The current edit of the film is very strong I feel, it is helped by fine-tuning the pace, the tension and the romance. It all contributes to a film that is a suspenseful, thoughtful thriller. The score is also really taking shape and adds another dimension. When I started THE AMERICAN I thought that the music might be blues-based, and very early on I thought of Morricone inspired themes as there is a kind of Western relation to the film. It is now very piano-based and is working its magic tremendously. I often find myself humming a part of the score when walking to my flat.


Violante Placido on the set of The American

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Posted May 13, 2010

Butterflies. There are about 28,000 different ones. We are using only 1 in our film, THE AMERICAN.  So if we think of sequels we'd have quite a future.

The butterfly is symbolic of a couple of things in general in the film.  The book "A Very Private Gentleman", on which THE AMERICAN is based, is set in Abruzzo as it is the home to a lot of different butterflies.  The original main character was an eccentric englishman who uses his butterfly paintings as a cover for his professional, serious job. As I changed the character to an american protagonist I felt the eccentricity would become less believable and therefore George looks at the butterfly for its metamorphosis from a caterpillar and uses a hard shaped outlined one as a tattoo on his back.

George Clooney's "tattoo"

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Wish it was raining...

Posted April 05, 2010

Survived the test screening in New Jersey, just about. We only had 4 walkouts which is not bad. If i had shown CONTROL there i think there would have been a lot more people heading for the door.  As it is, i will continue editing, starting again today, Easter monday. 

Wish it was raining, makes it so much easier to go into the darkness of the edit suite. I'm going to look at the ending of the film and make sure it is understood by more people. No way i'm going to let you in on the actual ending so you will have to wait and see. Or wait longer and go and see the sequel, in 3D of course.

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