Frank Darabont Interview video
Director Frank Darabont’s horror movie The Mist (based on the Stephen King novella) was recently released on DVD. In the film, actor Thomas Jane plays a movie poster illustrator, which has to be a first as far as film character occupations go. The movie poster illustrator as a hero character is interesting when one considers director Darabont’s strong feelings about modern movie posters. In this Comic Con interview with Chris Hewitt of Empire Magazine, Frank Darabont does not mince words about his assessment of the state of film poster art. The Frank Darabont interview begins at 2:10 in the Comic-Con Video Diary #3 (Part 2) (Warning: NSFW language):
“Blow me with that poster art” musings aside, Darabont has long been a strong advocate for movie poster illustration, which is apparent in his film projects, like The Majestic movie poster or the DVD cover art for the anniversary releases of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. The Mist Two-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD even includes a featurette called Drew Struzan: An Appreciation of An Artist about the famed illustrator, who illustrated The Mist teaser poster.
I guess he didn’t see the post about Emma Watson’s chest in the last Harry Potter poster. If that’s not art, what is?
Well yes, I concur, art is great. Well said, Frank. I love all those crazy abstract Polish posters.
But it’s not entirely the fault of the marketing department. If he wants a culprit, he should pinpoint the market itself. It’s a well known (and somewhat depressing) fact that if you put an attractive woman on the front of *any* magazine, it will sell at least 10% more copies than the same magazine with an abstract cover. And if putting [insert major star here]’s buttocks 80ft high on a poster and nothing else gets 10% more people into the theatre to watch the film, then no distribution company is going to turn that money down. Or perhaps he would like to give back his points for the sake of a poster with artistic credentials?
Also, I’m not really sure what he’s actually advocating. The short interview segment above gives me the impression that the “floating heads” concept is bad if it’s a selection of Photoshopped stills, but high art if it’s painted by Drew Struzan.
But going back to my initial reaction: yes, more conceptually varied posters please. Especially from the big studios – arguably, they are the ones that don’t need the money, but I’m sure they’d tell you otherwise.
Likelihood of it happening, in these cash-strapped times: not very, IMHO.
I agree partly with what you’re saying. Selling sex is nothing new and I understand why studios do it. They did it in the 70’s and 80’s too – these eras were not all hand drawn. However, not every film needs to sell sex [kid’s film’s, fantasy, sci-fi}? So it still does not explain why they are using crappy photoshopped garbage in their advertising material. And by the way if it’s painted by Drew Struzan, it’s high art, trust me on that – I have spent over a year trying to find someone of his calibre around the schools and universities and there is no one that comes close to him, he is a genuis pure and simple. Try it yourself if you think it’s standard advertising junk. And 99% of photo posters are crap – fact. By the way, a not to the other poster, Gladiator is garbage and will not be remembered the way Jaws and The Empire Strikes Back are remembered now, in thirty years. Hand drawn artwork will make a comeback. The most successful Harry Potter film had an illustrated poster, the less successful sequels had photoshopped poses. That should tell you something.
Thanks! Great post.
To the commenters above, taking a half assed stance on this subject does not help anything. It seems like people’s default setting these days is an “oh well what do you expect” acceptance of lameness and mediocrity as inevitable.
Ironically, both the poster for The Mist and the Harry Potter poster that Darabont rags on had the same Creative Director. I know his comments are directed more to the marketing people than the creatives, but I thought it was noteworthy just the same.
Well, all this whining isn’t going to help – and why should it? Illustration has had its great time (with plenty of mediocre art, too). Now tastes & times have changed. It’s inevitable, folks.
Drawing will always have its place, especially in the Fantasy genre – posters that create a sense of the surreal need good artists, with the computer or the brush.
My favorite poster of the last 15 years is ‘Gladiator’, and it’s based on a photograph. It is instantly recognizable and creates a certain mood that fits the film perfectly. This, and not the way it’s done, is the real measure of a good poster.
Photoshop sucks and has had it’s day. Ilustrations need to make a comeback.