Q: Most recently you've been doing the HOLLYWOOD IS DEAD posters, which re-imagine classic movie posters with a zombie theme, like GNAWS. This reminds me of those WACKY PACKS cards from the 70's... This began with Lucasfilm hiring you to do parody STAR WARS zombie posters?
Yeah, Lucasfilm was looking to do viral marketing for their horror novel, DEATH TROOPERS. All they had in mind was for me to do a painting that somehow infused STAR WARS and zombies. Immediately I thought of how cool it would be to see the classic posters zombified. Lucasfilm loved the idea and agreed for me to do all six movies.
Once that hit, everyone started emailing me asking when they were gonna see zombie INDIANA JONES and BACK TO THE FUTURE. I realized that this was too great an idea to just end with STAR WARS. Thus began the HOLLYWOOD IS DEAD project, which of course can be seen at http://www.Hollywood-is-Dead.com.
Q: Is it up to you which movies your parody?
Yes, so far I have only had praise from the studios. They're parody and satire, so there's not much they could do if they didn't enjoy them. In addition to the humor, I think it's clear that these have been painstakingly recreated by hand out of love and respect to the original masterpieces. Sure, I slaughter them to bloody pulps, but the real joy has been examining the master works of my favorite poster artists like Drew Struzan, John Alvin, Bob Peak, Richard Amsel and others.
The way I've gone about selecting which posters I zombify is kinda based on how much I admire the original poster, versus how clever can I be with the zombie spin. Not just the art, but is there a clever name I can use for the title, etc.
Q: Which have been your favorite DEAD posters?
I've enjoyed each one, so usually the latest one I've done ends up being my temporary fave. But the ones that really rise to the top for me are the ones that give me the most nostalgia. It's not necessarily the movies themselves, but the actual posters. For example, APOCALYPSE NOW has never been one of my favorite movies, but that poster that Bob Peak illustrated has always been legendary to me.
Bar none, the piece that took the longest was the poster I parodied for HOOK, which was originally illustrated by Drew Struzan. The amount of detail in that piece is insane. The composition is just awesome, too. I love how the border and background is really a scruffed up map to Neverland! Every inch of the original is pure brilliance, so even though it took forever, that piece was really fun to work on.
Another fave was the poster I riffed for ROMANCING THE STONE. The original, which was illustrated by Mike Bell, was kind of nice because it wasn't a typical montage, which is normally what you'd see for an action movie back in the 80's. But the image conveys so much action, adventure, romance... The single image says it all. But the nostalgia on that one was pretty thick for me. I remember staring at the painting jungle for hours as a kid, looking for easter eggs. So trying to create that endless depth in the jungle chasm was really cool.
Q: You're also finishing up your video series, "How to Draw Star Wars"?
The whole You Can Draw STAR WARS thing, both the book and the videos, have been an incredible experience. Creation of the book and videos began back in 2006, so when this all wraps up next year, it will have been this huge 5 year journey.
I've got two more episodes to go. I'm working on the first right now. Essentially it's the mailbag episode. I'm taking many of the questions that folks have written in from around the world and answering them. It'll be great, because it will cover many of the gaps that perhaps some of the episodes left out. It'll touch on specifics, too, like painting figurines, using an eraser, airbrushing... A bit of everything.
Then, the last episode will be epic. I don't want to give away too much, but for anyone who's a fan of the series, the final episode will not disappoint. The topic will be inspiration and breaking into the business, but it'll also be a lot of fun.
Q: You had also done the independent horror movie CONJURE several years ago. Are you planning to direct another movie soon?
Absolutely. I had so much fun making CONJURE, but a lot of it was kind of a huge experiment. I was happy with the results, but knew I could do better back then, and certainly know I can do better now.
The You Can Draw STAR WARS episodes have also been an incredible film school for me. Each episode has a different flavor, and I think the variety has been a huge learning experience.
As to what kind of movie it will be... I have about five or six solid ideas of varying genres. Some with complete scripts, ready to go, and some just outlines and doodles on paper. From day to day, I change my mind on which project I'll be focusing on, so I think I'm just going to wrap up existing obligations, and then see where my heart is when the time comes. But- I can promise that it will be bigger and better than anything I've done.
Q: What's your next big project?
The next biggie is probably the final episode of You Can Draw STAR WARS. I'm also doing a bunch of trading cards for the next STAR WARS GALAXY series from Topps. I do have another couple dozen ideas for Hollywood is Dead posters, and then I plan to collect them all into a nice coffee table art book.
I also have a DVD documentary that I've been filming for the past couple years called DREAM FACTORY. The doc will go behind the scenes with where I work, how I work, and the creative process. The doc will be feature length, but will likely just be another straight to DVD item, similar to ILLUSTRATION NATION, which was a doc that followed my travel adventures around the world. It's really something intended for my specific fans, as opposed to something mass audiences would find interest in.
But after that... We'll have to see. I do have a handful of ideas to do something huge. I'm definitely gearing up, and I want to do it right. Just another step on my ladder to world domination, right?
Of course, you can always see what I'm up to and get the latest at www.MattBusch.com!