Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Designer Claims His 'Oldboy' Poster Artwork Was Stolen, Spike Lee Responds

News
by Kevin Jagernauth
November 29, 2013 9:22 AM
13 Comments
  • |

With Spike Lee's "Oldboy" remake in theaters this weekend, a whole other conversation is emerging around the movie that has nothing to do with Josh Brolin's preferred 3 hour cut or the studio mandated edits to the iconic hammer hallway fight sequence. Rather, it has to do with the film's marketing and a designer who claims his concepts were used without his permission.

Juan Luis Garcia has taken to his personal website and written an open letter in which he details his experience working on early artwork for "Oldboy." In short, he claims in January of this year he was hired by an ad agency, who was working directly with Spike Lee, to put together artwork for "Oldboy." Over two months Garcia says he was "taken advantage of, lead on, lied to, manipulated, and harassed" by the agency but was told Lee really liked what he came up with. That's where things got particularly troublesome:

The agency told me, “Congratulations, Spike loved a couple of the posters. Yours is going to be the key art.”, and I was thrilled. But when it came time to negotiate the licensing buyout fee the agency made an insultingly low offer. But they said that the important thing wasn’t the money it was the exposure and potential for more work. After thinking about it long and hard I had to decline. I tried to negotiate but they refused. I make the same amount of money in a single day as a photo assistant as what they offered and I had worked on these almost exclusively for two months. Plus there was still more work to be done so I had to refuse.

The agency was furious. They told me that I didn’t want to mess with Spike Lee, that I would never work again, that I was a despicable human, that they wish they never met me, and that they were going to sue my ass to oblivion. For what, I honestly don’t know. We never signed any contracts or work-for-hire agreements and I certainly never agreed to donating or selling any copyright of my work without a licensing fee. 

The worst part of all this is that I never even got paid the peanuts they owed me. I was fine with it as long as they were out of my life. I couldn’t take another condescending phone call because I was “only a designer.” Many sleepless nights forced me to chock it up as a loss and learning experience and try to move on with my life.

Indeed, Garcia had put it behind him until he recently found his artwork and concepts on the personal and professional social media areas for Spike Lee and his production company, leading to the open letter. So what does Lee think of all this? There hasn't been much from his camp, but yesterday morning he tweeted the following: "I Never Heard Of This Guy Juan Luis Garcia,If He Has A Beef It's Not With Me.I Did Not Hire Him,Do Not Know Him.Cheap Trick Writing To Me.YO"

There is likely more to come from both sides before this is resolved. Until then, check out Garcia's work below followed by the officially released poster, and us know your thoughts in the comments section.


News
  • |

More: Oldboy (Remake), Spike Lee

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

13 Comments

  • Hannover | December 20, 2013 4:27 PMReply

    Spike Lee is a total douche. Don't waste your money on his movies. Watch the original, I guarantee it's much better than whatever his racist brain did to this remake.

  • nick | December 4, 2013 12:42 PMReply

    EVEN THE UNORIGINAL, ORIGINAL POSTER IS BETTER THAN THE ONE SPIKE MADE!

  • Spike Lee | December 1, 2013 2:03 AMReply

    Im Spike Lee The Bigoted Racist Douchebag Hypocrite You All Hate. I Steal Posters Too And Type Like A 14 Y/R Old Child Because My Brain Doesn't Have The Capacity To Function Like A Normal Adult's. Please Don't Go Out To See My New Film That I Stress Is An Adaptation Of The Graphic Novel, Not a Remake Of The Film. Mainly Because I KNO I Can Never Live Up To The Greatness Of The Original. But Even THO I Stress That This Is Not A Remake, I Completely Copied The Fight Scene From The Original But Made It Longer Because I'm So Innovative And Original. HHAHAHA. Not. Of Course I'm Not. YO.

  • Patrick | December 1, 2013 5:27 PM

    Make poster designers cry in a game of Super Spike Lee Double Dash. YO.
    cartelle.nl/spikeleedash

  • Jeff | November 30, 2013 1:26 PMReply

    The original is a better poster in my opinion. It has that element of being disturbing, and really making you wonder what it is all about.

  • don't side with the bad guy | November 29, 2013 5:22 PMReply

    this is common practice amongst hollywood studios. There are plenty of nightmare stories on the web- even big name artists have fallen to the prey of studios who have pushed their legal weight around.

    Finding a way to somehow relate a lying waitress to an artist who was robbed of his work is blatantly stupid.

  • phil | November 29, 2013 11:42 AMReply

    Enough With The Caps Jesus Christ

  • Pig Bodine | November 29, 2013 9:55 AMReply

    The studio poster has been circulating for months. The open letter doesn't have a date on it, but I'm curious why it happens to be circulating only now, the week of the movie's opening.

    What poster designer in his right mind puts the hand and leg of the film's star on a prospective one-sheet, but not his face???

    This feels like a variation on those "waitress receives rude message and no tip on her receipt" posts that usually turn out to be hoaxes.

  • Christopher Bell | November 29, 2013 1:51 PM

    Sick Pynchon reference.

  • Pig Bodine | November 29, 2013 10:52 AM

    Troy, there is a huge gulf between an intentional artistic statement like the Saul Bass-inspired Clockers poster and poorly conceived work like the "hand-leg-trunk" comp that is kind of being put forth as the smoking gun of this issue.

    Obviously a poster doesn't have to use a star's face but there's something fake-y and slapdash looking about it, and there's something passive-aggressive and suspect about the tone of the letter.

  • TG | November 29, 2013 10:44 AM

    "What poster designer in his right mind puts the hand and leg of the film's star on a prospective one-sheet, but not his face???"

    One without access to the film's star while designing the poster. Designers do this all the time before an official promo shoot. Josh Brolin isn't exactly hanging out at the ad agency while the designers cook up key art.

  • Troy | November 29, 2013 10:26 AM

    Although you're right that Spike Lee would never have used a poster without the face of the star on it. What was the designer thinking? Oh: http://i.imgur.com/2GbOF0X.jpg

  • Troy | November 29, 2013 10:25 AM

    You may have had a point, but it seems you didn't read the actual post. It's not only a comparison the artist is drawing between the poster he submitted and the studio poster, his actual original posters were used (and I don't mean ideas, his work was copied over) by the production company. I recall seeing his images on facebook a while ago.

Email Updates