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Robert Neubecker
February 2010
The Sideways Story
posted:
I've had some compliments on the Sideways poster- there's a story behind it so I thought I'd spill the beans. The funniest part is that they used one of my sketches for the final art. I had no idea until I saw it. When the job came in from Stephanie Allen at Fox Searchlight, I was delighted, of course, and determined to land this one for illustrators everywhere. It's been a long time since we've seen illustrated movie posters-  I am especially  referring to the simple graphic posters of the late 50's and sixties by people like Tommy Ungerer and Saul Bass. So I did dozens of sketches.  The director, Alexander Payne, had seen a cover that I'd done for the L.A. Times Magazine- it's the cropped image above in my banner- and wanted to capture the same feeling of alienation and general malaise. It did help that I had Paul Giomatti as the star... I did a half assed likeness of Paul just so they got the idea, and then did every combination of two drunks, two women, and booze that I could think of- in the three or four days I had. I heard nothing for two weeks- then I got the call that the poster was done- finished... I tried to argue, but Stephanie said it's printed...  So I said send it over.... Anyway, turns out that they liked the freshness of the sketch. I would have tightened up the likenesses- but it's always a battle in drawing  (especially for me) to maintain that perfect balance between energy and accuracy. I've had art directors just use the sketch before...and I admire  the work of Serge Bloch and others who work without a net...

 Christian Struzen- Drew's son- turned the bottle on it's side, added the space and green texture- and of course did the type. Sideways came out in the fall of 2004. I've done three other movie posters since, one just last month for the movie "Cyrus" with Marisa Tomei and John C. Reiley. We're still waiting to see if it made the final cut (committee of suits) I'll post more movie stuff when I get a chance.    Thanks, Robert
A composite of some of the sketches...
By the way, I hated the script. I thought these guys were vile and pretty predictable drunks. When I saw what the actors did with these characters, making them actually lovable in the end, I was really impressed. They deserved their Oscar. Christian Strusan and I won a Key Art award from The Hollywood Reporter for Best Comedy Poster- the oscar of movie posters...
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