Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Once Artwork - A Lesson in Hollywood Bastardization

All of this Swell Season fever led me to a few interesting posts on how Hollywood messed with the poster/DVD cover of the movie Once.

It's a pretty telling evolution. The artwork went from an artsy, rootsy design to the final version that has the couple holding hands on the cover, walking on a guitar neck.

The problem with this holding hands thing is that they never get together in the movie. Also, according to an interview with Glen Hansard, the final version has his head pasted onto someone else's body, and they have made Marketa Irglova taller! Totally Hollywood crapola. The whole interview is great by the way - from right after the Oscar win.

Here is the part addressing the artwork:

Pitchfork: Speaking of changing the cover, am I imagining things, or did they change the Once poster when it got released on DVD? They changed what you're wearing.

GH: Oh, man. They fuckin' killed it. You're right. They have us holding hands, which we never do in the film! Those legs aren't mine. Those legs are like three times longer than my legs. It's a completely new body. They literally just used my face. I'm wearing a hat in the original picture, so they Photoshopped my head. If you look at my head, my head looks totally weird, because whoever did the Photoshop job was shit. My head looks really weird, they took my hat off, and they gave me an entirely new body. It's completely bizarre. And they made Mar much taller than she really is. You can look at the original cover and then what they did to it and spot all the crappy differences. It's awful. It's a real shame. But at a certain level you've got to let this shit go. I designed the original poster and the cover of the DVD myself. Myself and John like to do things ourselves, and I do a bit of design for the Frames. I designed all the Frames album covers. So I put together the DVD cover and the poster originally. And then they took it and fucking bastardized it. Instead of walking down a street, they stuck us walking down a big guitar.

Pitchfork: Again, it's a different world. The music industry is sketchy enough as it is, but the movie industry is 100 times that.

GH: Yeah, it's just blatant. They don't give a fuck. They want you to look at the DVD cover and get everything from that. It's the opposite of what someone like Criterion would do. They create wonderful art. With a Criterion DVD, you just want to buy it for the box. They do it right. With the bigger-time DVDs...they could have done such a nicer job. But I'm just complaining from a design point of view.

The original poster:

The evolution to the Hollywood version:


VoxMoose said...

If you ask: aside from the gritty quality of the photo, what elements of the original photo made it the choice of the FILMMAKERS to put on the cover? I'm guessing that there are at least four:
1) The people in the picture are actually the two people in the movie;
2) They are walking together but where the _separation_ between their hands is actually important;
3) Put them in a gritty street scene (from the film) to help set the stage for the context of the movie;
4) Place a guitar someplace in there (e.g. over his shoulder) to give some thematic grounding.

The Hollywood alterations basically seriously screw with the first 3. The "guitar street" addition is not so crazy. It is an obvious addition to the photo and almost makes sense (but sadly removes the cool cobblestones). Everything else they did with the photo is a tragic train-wreck.

Sizzle said...

That's crap! I can't believe they changed it so much. Ok, I CAN believe it but it is still annoying.

Glen spoke to this a bit last night at the Seattle show...basically saying it was like kicking a ball and thinking it'd hit the fence but instead the ball goes over the fence and way farther than you ever imagined. You're stoked in a way but at the same time you want your fucking ball back.

Paraphrasing but that's the gist of what he said in regards to the film's fame.

sari said...

The original photo is much better.

The problem with any industry (hollywood, books, music, etc.) is that they're in it for the $$$ and that's it. It's a shame.

sari said...

I'm sure you probably have seen this since you do a lot of web surfing, but my sister sent me this link and it's great to listen to:

Lizbot said...

This totally bothered me!! When I got the dvd, I was like, why are they holding hands? What? It bugged me so bad that I took a flyer/advertistment of the movie with the original picture I had picked up somewhere and slipped in front of the modified version. I felt much better afterward.

Thanks for letting me know about the NPR interview!

Bill Van Loon said...

Thanks for opening my eyes to the packaging thing. Hollywood. What else can you say?

sunnyd said...

wow- but, why am I not surprised?

cool site, by the way!