What's the connection between Stephen King's The Mist and the Harry Potter film series? Or to The Goonies? Or even to Star Wars? Here's a clue: they're all linked to a Hollywood genius who's had a mark on films everyone loves — and whose face is almost entirely unknown.
'The Mist' (2007)
Before the series of the same name debuted on Spike this year, there was a film adaptation of Stephen King's 1980 novella The Mist. They all tell the story of a New England town swallowed up by a mysterious mist populated with brutal, Lovecraftian monsters.
The hero of the book and 2007 film is David Drayton, an artist struggling to save his son from the horrors awaiting them outside a claustrophobic grocery store. In an early scene of the movie, the audience watches David put the finishing touches on a painting of a familiar figure. Portrayed by Thomas Jane (of Punisher fame), the character (and his artwork) is actually based on a real person — and no, it's not Stephen King himself.
Take a quick look below. Do the images in the collage look familiar?
If they don't look familiar then you're either lying or you weren't allowed to watch movies as a child. These are sections from some of the most famous film posters ever. The coolest part — they were all drawn by one man.
His name is Drew Struzan, and he's created over 150 movie posters throughout his career. After graduating from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, he worked as an illustrator, creating B-movie posters and album covers. His big break came in 1977, when artist Charles White III asked Struzan to paint some figures for a high-profile poster he was working on. The film? Oh, just a little space opera called Star Wars.
Struzan's career exploded after that, and his posters have since become the (wait for it) poster-children of nostalgia. Hook. Back to the Future. Blade Runner. It's hard to find an artist living today who's created so many iconic images. Now retired, Struzan takes occasional breaks from his grandchildren to work on projects like The Walking Dead and The Force Awakens.
To come full-circle, we must go back to The Mist. As stated before, the film's main character is an artist — an artist whose style looks suspiciously like the work of Drew Struzan.
Well, that's because it is the work of Drew Struzan.
As stated in the 2013 documentary Drew Struzan: The Man Behind the Poster, David Drayton's work was meant to be a direct homage to Struzan. So much so that Drew Struzan even came into the studio to teach Thomas Jane how to hold a paint brush like him. But was Jane a good student?
In the documentary, Struzan states rather emphatically that the actor got his technique completely and utterly wrong. So while Jane may have convinced the audience that he was a successful commercial artist, his teacher was less than thrilled.
But hey — there can be only one Drew Struzan.