By Cory Everett | @modage July 21, 2011 at 8:02AM
With only five films left to go before self-imposed retirement, each of Steven Soderbergh's remaining projects promises to bring at the very least, a super interesting twist on several genres the director has yet to fully tackle ("Liberace" likely being part musical, etc.).
Though his next film scheduled to be released is September's outbreak thriller/horror "Contagion," he's already got another film in the can, the Bourne-like spy actioner "Haywire." The film stars MMA fighter Gina Carano as a covert ops specialist who discovers she’s been double-crossed and takes revenge on her own company. An impressive ensemble of Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Douglas and Michael Angarano have been rounded up for the film that reunites the director with ”The Limey” screenwriter Lem Dobbs and composer David Holmes (the ‘Oceans’ Trilogy, “Out of Sight”). With the planned release date of January 20, 2012 coming up in about five months, the marketing campaign for the film is heating up and will truly get started with a panel this weekend at Comic-Con, where Soderbergh and Carano will be presenting the first footage from the picture.
Additionally, they've released the first official poster for the film that they'll be bringing along to San Diego, and you can get a peek at it below. It's another beauty from designer Neil Kellerhouse who has previously worked with Soderbergh on posters for "The Girlfriend Experience," "The Informant!" and his Spalding Gray doc "And Everything Is Going Fine," among others. You may also recognize his already iconic "The Social Network" art, his recent striking piece for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" or his many covers for The Criterion Collection. We got a chance to speak to the graphic artist about the inspiration for his latest one-sheet, what it's like to work with Soderbergh and a details on a few of his other projects as well. Read on for his thoughts on "Haywire" and look out for a more in-depth interview with Kellerhouse a bit later.
"In advertising I don't think you can be disingenuous at all. You have to be really honest and up front and be true to the story," Kellerhouse said about his approach to creating a strong impression with a poster. The designer was doing work for the Criterion Collection when Soderbergh first called him directly and asked him to work on the key art for "Bubble." For their next project, "The Girlfriend Experience," Kellerhouse estimates he produced around 40 or 50 pieces before they settled on the final artwork and the two have become mutual admirers and collaborators on the artwork for several films since. He says Soderbergh doesn't give him much direction up front nor does he art direct the concepts heavily after they're presented, instead he lets Kellerhouse explore a number of ideas before deciding on a direction that he's happy with. "He's sharp, he knows what he likes, he's got great taste and an amazing visual sensibility," he said of the director.
While sometimes Kellerhouse will only have the script and some production stills to go on, in certain cases he's able to look at the nearly-completed film, which was the case for "Haywire." Kellerhouse described the film, which was shot all over the world, as "hypertopical" and "transportive" and used that as inspiration for his artwork. He worked on numerous pieces for this film as well and described this first poster as being "day glow" and "cautionary." "[The film] feels so forward and modern that I wanted to get something that feels modern and takes you to another place like the film," he said. He also confirmed he was working on the final poster art as well, which he described as "the payoff" and said though the first poster wasn't necessarily a new visual language, the final poster would be much more "adventurous." "It needed [to be] like something you've never seen before," he added. You can check out the Comic-Con poster below and look out for a lot more from our chat with Kellerhouse very soon.
Fandango, who delivers the poster, also has a quote from the director himself.
"When we were working on BUBBLE, I wanted to make sure we came up with a one-sheet that was…well, as odd as the movie. Or as 'distinctive.' Whatever. So I was looking at some of the Criterion Collection dvds which had really striking artwork, and I called Kim Hendrickson and asked who did the design for the titles I thought were particularly cool. She said, oh, those were done by Neil Kellerhouse. So Neil did BUBBLE for us, then THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE and THE INFORMANT!, and in the mean time I turned him on to David Fincher, and Neil did THE SOCIAL NETWORK and is now working on DRAGON TATTOO, in addition to working on HAYWIRE and CONTAGION. Busy guy. The only problem with Neil is that he generates too much good stuff; the images that end up being discarded are often every bit as good as the final choice. Repeatedly I’ve begged the distributor to come up with a way to post Neil’s 'kills' online as a way of rewarding fans of the films and creating chatter and buzz and shit. They’ve always said, yeah, yeah, that would be cool, but they’ve never done it. And they won’t unless a lot of you ask them to. So get involved if you want to see more cool stuff from Neil. But until then, check out this teaser for HAYWIRE…"