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My Super Ex-Girlfriend movie poster

My Super Ex-Girlfriend movie poster

My Super Ex-Girlfriend poster

The weblog Ironic Sans points out that movie posters for the new Ivan Reitman comedy My Super Ex-Girlfriend are using the same Uma Thurman head strip on two different bodies.

“Someone grafted the exact same head onto this poster, too. If they weren’t going to do a good job, couldn’t they at least make it less obvious that it’s the exact same head?”

My Super Ex-Girlfriend head strips

My Super Ex-Girlfriend head strips

It’s interesting the Ironic Sans site chooses to focus on the “cloned Umas” while giving the less than ideal Luke Wilson’s body double on the My Super Ex-Girlfriend poster no mention. It is all another example of how difficult a movie poster body double / actor Frankenstein creation can be to pull off.

Using the same head on different bodies isn’t uncommon (and sometimes a necessary evil). A possible explanation in this case might be that the head shot in question was the only “approved image” of Uma Thurman available for use at that time. Or perhaps a deadline forced the second poster artwork to use the same head shot. Or… we could speculate endlessly.

Most well-known movie stars have approval (either contractually or as a professional courtesy) over ALL photography of themselves available to a film’s marketing campaign. For example, when images from a film (in unit shots, special shoots, etc.) become available, the images are first given to the actor for approval. Contact sheets (also known as proof sheets) of all the photography are sent to the actor, which are then sent back with a lot of red Xs — known as “kills” — marked through photos that the star (or more likely, their manager) don’t want used. This is becoming less common with the advent of digital photography. This photo approval can be frustrating for designers working on the project if some/most/all of the best shots are “killed”. This power to “kill” can be taken a step further when a star (or producer, director, etc.) has approval over the movie poster design of the final one-sheet. This is why one of the first questions asked by many art directors on many key art projects is: “Who has approval over this movie poster?”

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4 Comments

  1. adminJuly 3, 2006 at 3:01 PMReply

    This is also getting a mention over at the Adfreak blog:

    http://adweek.blogs.com/adfreak/2006/06/uma_thurmans_se.html

  2. karl sinfieldJuly 4, 2006 at 5:19 AMReply

    Hmm. Two very dodgy necks there – I wouldn’t be surprised if this leads to a new contractual clause: “Neck approval” – where stars can check how weird their necks look when their lovely headshots are grafted onto new bodies of varying suitability. I’m not criticising – I could do no better. I just can’t help but feel the pain of the designers involved when I see something like this.

    But at the end of the day, aren’t we all being a bit precious – it does the job, doesn’t it? I mean, not every film is after the same audience for Pi or Adaptation is it? So while all this is interesting to note – I don’t think it really matters…but then does anything really matter? …Oh no, I’ve gone all emo…Uma Thurman’s neck has made me doubt the usefulness of my existence!…somebody, please make it stop!!!

  3. Keira’s Breasts « Posterwire.com « the movie poster weblogFebruary 10, 2008 at 10:22 PMReply

    […] are marketed (News Flash: Americans like large breasts), but she goes on to admit she does have final approval over how she is portrayed in key art. In the same interview she says about appearing on magazine […]

  4. Dane Cook: Movie Poster Critic | Posterwire.comNovember 13, 2011 at 11:02 AMReply

    […] perils of the “constructed reality” in movie posters based around unit photography and head strips. But you have to wonder if Dane Cook hates the My Best Friend’s Girl movie poster key art so […]

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