CHRISTOPHER NOLAN POSTER SERIES

ALTERNATIVE POSTERS - 2017

As part of my final major project for my degree at University, I created a series of alternative movie posters and an accompanying illustrated book based on 4 of Christopher Nolan's most popular films; Memento, The Dark Knight, Inception and Interstellar. You can read more about the book part of the project here, this page is focused on the posters. This project and these posters were also my introduction into digital drawing, the whole project being created digitally. First, there is the alternative poster for 'Memento', Nolan's second full length film. The film has two timelines running side by side that are intercut with each other; one displayed in colour and the other in black and white. the main character 'Leonard Shelby' suffers from memory loss that he deals with by taking polaroid photos and tattooing himself to remember. I used that polaroid template and used it subtly for the framing in the poster. I decided to use the colour orange as a nod to the original posters for the movie, and I liked how it stood out from the simple black and white portrait. This poster is the most simple of the 4 because I wanted this poster to be curious, I didn't want to give anything away because this movie is one of those that are the hard to describe, you just have to watch. It's mysterious and I wanted to translate this into the poster. I decided to use the font Helvetica as a nod to the era the film is set around, the late 90's to early 2000's. Inspired by other posters of the time like Trainspotting, I thought the typeface fit the poster perfectly.

 

Second up was my poster for 'The Dark Knight', the second film in the Nolan Batman trilogy. For this poster I decided to focus on the Joker character, as I think he is the most memorable aspect of this film. I wanted to use the very first time we see the joker in the film, as he removes his clown mask during the opening bank scene. I then decided to take it further and amp up the joker influence into the poster. Inspired by ransom notes I started cutting out different letters from magazines and piecing them together until I landed on what you can see in the poster. I then used the cutout style and applied it to other areas of the poster, adding in a cut up script page of the film and then using this to add crosses over the joker's eyes because I thought it was a very joker-like thing to do. Even though Batman isn't included anywhere on this poster, the iconic imagery of the joker holding a clown mask isn't instantly recognisable to the movie and that is the power of Heath Ledger's portrayal of the joker in this movie. 

The third of the four alternative posters was the one I created for 'Inception'. There were a lot of ways I could have represented the movie but I decided to do it by drawing inspiration from the famous line 'a dream within a dream'. The line 'a dream within a dream' has become such an iconic phrase and I decided to represent it by layering different elements. I used the illustration of Leonardo DiCaprio's character 'Dom Cobb' and duplicated it, layering it with itself. I wanted the poster to show the different layers of the plot and the different layers of the layers. I used overprinting of the red and blue because I liked the effect it gave. For the typography I drew inspiration from the famous Paris scene in the movie where the city folds in on itself, I thought this was an interesting visual mode which I think translated well into the typography and it became a style that I kept with in the book aspect of the project. I wanted to make sure that the typography connected to the illustration so I placed it over the top purposefully to frame his eye, hectic but purposefully like the movie.

Lastly was the alternative poster for his most recent (at the time) film; 'Interstellar'. This film is one of my favourite movies of all time, it is an incredibly beautiful film that deals with the theme of space in an incredibly interesting and unique way. At its center, this film is about space travel but the overarching theme of this movie is love and human connection, contrasted together wonderfully. The father daughter storyline runs through and develops throughout the film into an almost full circle moment. This film added warmth into the often cold space genre, and I wanted to represent that in this poster. I decided to use a double exposure style illustrations of an incredibly emotional scene in the movie with a side profile of the main character in a space suit, with more emphasis on the father daughter scene. I used the colour blue because of its connotations of the sky, and what is beyond; a theme that runs through the film. I really wanted to show the emotional aspect of the film rather than the space element because thats what makes this movie great.

© Ben Johnson 2019 - Portfolio. All Rights Reserved.

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