Was This the Straw?

“You kiddin’? They could whip up some bad Photoshop poster in an afternoon. They do it all the time, two big heads.” — David Drayton, from the movie The Mist

The Mist

On January 14, 2014, I mused about The Death of Drawing in my life. I related a specific incident that led to its untimely demise. In the post I shared the story of Drew Struzan, the famous movie poster artist who faced a similar setback. Drew has illustrated more than 150 movie posters, including all the films in the Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Rambo and Star Wars film series.

I recently stumbled across Drew’s name while searching the Internet. It was in regard to the 2007 horror movie The Mist. The film was written and directed by Frank Darabont and based on a 1980 novella by Stephen King, part of his Skeleton Crew collection. Frank Darabont had previously adapted King’s works The Shawshank Redemption (1994 film based on the 1982 novella) and The Green Mile (1999 film based on the 1996 novel).

In the novella, the main character is David Drayton, a moderately successful commercial artist who narrates the story. In the film adaption, Darabont turns David into a successful painter and movie poster artist (a la Drew Struzan).

In the opening scene, David is working on a painting in his studio. The painting is based on Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and was actually created by Drew Struzan himself. Darabont also included reproductions of Struzan’s posters and illustrations for The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, John Carpenter’s The Thing and Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. In an odd turn of events, Struzan would go on to produce a poster for The Mist but the image was not used in the film’s marketing campaign. A similar fate had been suffered by his posters for Hook, Hellboy and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

As I stated in my earlier post, the growing use of Photoshop and the meddling of an ever-growing number of people in the creative process prompted Drew to retire in September 2008. Since then he has focused primarily on personal work, along with an occasional commercial project.

The Mist was released in November 2007, the year prior to his retirement. I wonder if this movie poster was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

To put a somewhat happy ending on the story, Drew’s rejected poster art (above) was used by Signet Books on the standalone paperback released in conjunction with the film.