People Magazine
Hollywood Behind the Scenes
The crushes, the humor, the clashing egos-even the bathtubs and insects‑of the movie set: Photographer Mary Ellen Mark has seen it all.
June 2008
Photographs by Mary Ellen Mark

Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson. "They were two children in love…She was 15." (Night Moves, '75)

Donald Sutherland spending downtime in a tub. "I walked in and he laughed." (The Day of the Locust, '75)

Marlon Brando. "You had to ask his permission every time you took his picture. That was very difficult." (Apocalypse Now, '79)

Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. "This was between takes of a physically and emotionally exhausting scene." (Babel, '06)

note at bottom of page: From Seen Behind the Scene: Forty Years of Photographing on Set by Mary Ellen Mark © 2008 Phaidon Press Limited,

During four decades of taking pictures on movie sets for magazines and film promotions, photographer Mary Ellen Mark has captured acting greats including Marion Brando, Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep and Brad Pitt at their most unguarded: getting made up, clowning around, taking direction. Now she has gathered together hundreds of these stills‑many previously unpublished-in a new book, Seen Behind the Scene. Working on sets, says Mark, requires a great deal of tact: "You have to be respectful because it's hard to be an actor. It's like photographing paintings in a museum. Films are so expensive to make, and you don't want to cause distractions. You have to kind of tiptoe around." When they'll let you, that is. In today's celebrity‑oriented culture, "that kind of access is more difficult to get," Mark says. "The atmosphere around actors has changed."

Jack Nicholson (center), shot with Danny DeVito (holding stick) and castmates, "was very handsome, very intense." (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, '75)

Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. "That picture is a candid moment during rehearsal. They didn’t know I was there." (Sweeney Todd, '07)

Benicio Del Toro. "He was adorable. He became Che-he was in character in this shot." (Che, '08)