Matthew F. Leonetti

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Matthew F. Leonetti, A.S.C.
Born Matthew Frank Leonetti
(1941-07-31) July 31, 1941 (age 77)
Los Angeles, California
Occupation Cinematographer
Years active 1970-present
Parent(s) Frank Leonetti
Awards ASC President's Award

Matthew Frank Leonetti A.S.C. (born July 31, 1941) is an American cinematographer.[1][2][3] Accomplished and highly prolific,[1][4] he has worked on dozens of well-known and acclaimed films spanning numerous genres,[4][3] including Poltergeist, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Weird Science, Jagged Edge, Strange Days, and Star Trek: First Contact.[1][2] He has collaborated with directors like Tobe Hooper, Walter Hill, John Hughes, Kenneth Branagh, Kathryn Bigelow, Zack Snyder, and The Farrelly Brothers.

Life and career[edit]

Leonetti was born in Los Angeles, California in 1941. His father Frank was a filmmaker and cinematographer who served as a gaffer and lighting technician on low-budget B-movies like The Violent Years, Frankenstein's Daughter, and Beyond the Time Barrier.[2] Leonetti began his career working on a number of projects with his father, serving as a camera operator on films like Adam at 6 A.M. and The Organization.[2][3] He soon fell in with Jerry Jameson, a prolific television director who dabbled in feature films.[5][3] His debut as cinematographer was The Bat People, a horror B-movie directed by Jameson and starring Stewart Moss and Michael Pataki, on which he also served as an executive producer.[6] Though the film came and went with little fanfare, it did gain a minor cult following years later after being featured on an episode Mystery Science Theater 3000.[7] Leonetti spent much of the 1970s shooting made-for-television films directed by Jameson.[3]

In 1979, Leonetti shot his first big-budget theatrical film in the form of the Academy Award-winning Breaking Away, directed by Peter Yates.[8] Three years later, he shot the Academy Award-nominated Poltergeist,[9] where he was responsible for creating many of the film's iconic images.[10] This proved to be his big break, and in the following years he quickly became one of the most prolific and accomplished DPs in the film industry, shooting films like Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Weird Science, Commando,[11] and Jagged Edge.[12] In 1987, he began a collaboration with director Walter Hill, which would continue of the course of several films into the 1990s. Throughout that decade, he would work with directors like Kenneth Branagh, Kathryn Bigelow, and William Dear. His work on the cult science fiction noir Strange Days[13] earned him a nomination for Best Cinematography from the Chicago Film Critics Association. He shot two entries in the Star Trek film franchise, and served as DP on his brother John R. Leonetti's directorial debut, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.[14]

In the early 2000s, Leonetti shot a string of blockbuster thriller and action films; including Along Came a Spider, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Rush Hour 2, and The Butterfly Effect. He shot the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, which served as the feature film debut of director Zack Snyder.[15] Since 2006, he has mostly worked on comedy films, many of which are directed by the Farrelly Brothers. In 2015, he was the recipient of a Special Honor Prize, the President's Award, from the American Society of Cinematographers.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Leonetti has a younger brother, John, who is himself a prolific cinematographer and occasional film director. He is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University.[1]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Dir. Notes
1974 The Bat People Jerry Jameson Also executive producer
1977 Mr. Billion Jonathan Kaplan
The Chicken Chronicles Frank Simon
1979 Breaking Away Peter Yates
1980 Raise the Titanic Jerry Jameson
1981 Eyewitness Peter Yates
1982 Poltergeist Tobe Hooper
Fast Times at Ridgemont High Amy Heckerling
1984 The Buddy System Glenn Jordan
The Ice Pirates Stewart Raffill
Songwriter Alan Rudolph
1985 Fast Forward Sidney Poitier
Weird Science John Hughes
Jagged Edge Richard Marquand
Commando Mark L. Lester
1986 Jumpin' Jack Flash Penny Marshall
1987 Extreme Prejudice Walter Hill
Dragnet Tom Mankiewicz
1988 Action Jackson Craig R. Baxley
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark James Signorelli Additional photography;

with James B. Campbell

Red Heat Walter Hill
1989 Johnny Handsome
1990 Hard to Kill Bruce Malmuth
Another 48 Hrs. Walter Hill
1991 Dead Again Kenneth Branagh
1992 Leap of Faith Richard Pearce
Freejack Geoff Murphy Additional photography;

with Amir Mokri

1993 Demolition Man Marco Brambilla Additional photography;

with Alex Thomson

1994 Angels in the Outfield William Dear
A Low Down Dirty Shame Keenen Ivory Wayans
1995 Strange Days Kathryn Bigelow Nominated for:
1996 Fled Kevin Hooks
Star Trek: First Contact Jonathan Frakes
1997 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation John R. Leonetti
1998 Species II Peter Medak
Star Trek: Insurrection Jonathan Frakes
1999 Pushing Tin Mike Newell Additional photography;

with Gale Tattersall

2001 Along Came a Spider Lee Tamahori
Rush Hour 2 Brett Ratner
2003 2 Fast 2 Furious John Singleton
2004 The Butterfly Effect Eric Bress

J. Mackye Gruber

Dawn of the Dead Zack Snyder
2005 Fever Pitch The Farrelly Brothers
Santa's Slay David Steiman
2006 Accepted Steve Pink
2007 Pride Sunu Gornea
Halloween Rob Zombie Additional photography;

with Phil Parmet and Brandon Trost

The Heartbreak Kid The Farrelly Brothers
2008 What Happens in Vegas Tom Vaughan
College Road Trip Roger Kumble Additional photography;

with Theo van de Sande

Soul Men Malcolm D. Lee
2010 The Expendables Sylvester Stallone Additional photography;

with Jeffrey L. Kimball

2011 Hall Pass The Farrelly Brothers
2012 The Three Stooges
2013 Movie 43 Peter Farrelly Two segments
2014 Dumb and Dumber To The Farrelly Brothers

Television[edit]

Year Title Notes
1974 The Elevator Television film
Terror on the 40th Floor
It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy
Hurricane
1975 The Secret Night Caller
Search for the Gods
The Deadly Tower
The Lives of Jenny Dolan
1976 High Risk
The Call of the Wild
1977 The Spell
Flight to Holocaust
The Hostage Heart
1978 Superdome
Ruby and Oswald
Special Olympics
The Comedy Company
The American Girls 1 episode
A Fire in the Sky Television film
1979 The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal
Willa
Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love
1980 Turnover Smith
1981 Crazy Times
Stand By Your Man
1982 Mae West
Tucker's Witch 1 episode
E.T. and Friends: Magical Movie Visitors Television film
Hotline
1983 Lottery! 1 episode
Happy Television film
1986 American Geisha
Under the Influence
1988 Secret Witness
2008 Unhitched Pilot episode

Literature[edit]

  • Kay Weniger: Das große Personenlexikon des Films, Band 4, Page 690, Berlin (2001) ISBN 3-89602-340-3

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Staff, Hollywood.com (2015-02-06). "Matthew Leonetti | Biography and Filmography | 1941". Hollywood.com. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  2. ^ a b c d "MATTHEW LEONETTI". www.cinematographers.nl. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Camera Op to Cinematographer: Matt Leonetti & His Road to Hollywood Success". www.productionhub.com. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  4. ^ a b c Update, 411 (2014-09-27). "ASC Announces Four Cinematogaphers To Receive Special Honors". Variety 411. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  5. ^ Hart, Henry (2000-04-22). James Dickey: The World as a Lie. Macmillan. ISBN 9780312203207. 
  6. ^ "The Bat People". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  7. ^ "Episode guide: 1010- IT Lives By Night « Satellite News". www.mst3kinfo.com. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  8. ^ "CINEMATOGRAPHER LEONETTI BREAKING AWAY FROM THE MOLD -". 2016-09-06. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  9. ^ Galluzzo, Rob (2017-07-14). "Confirmation? Who Really Directed POLTERGEIST?". Blumhouse.com. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  10. ^ "Poltergeist (1982) / Matthew Leonetti, ASC, and Richard Edlund, ASC - The American Society of Cinematographers". theasc.com. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  11. ^ "Commando". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  12. ^ "Matthew F. Leonetti – One. Perfect. Shot". oneperfectshot.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  13. ^ "Strange Days". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  14. ^ "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation - About The Filmmakers". www.filmscouts.com. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 
  15. ^ "DAWN OF THE DEAD - Festival de Cannes". Festival de Cannes. Retrieved 2017-08-18. 

External links[edit]