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Bang Bang Baby & Born To Be Blue

Home  /  Feature Film  /  Bang Bang Baby & Born To Be Blue

SET IN THE ’60s

More precisely, Bang Bang Baby is set in 1963, and the action of the Chet Baker biopic Born To Be Blue is split between 1955 and 1965. They are also the first two graphics jobs I ever did.

BANG BANG BABY (2014)

Bang Bang Baby is a Canadian musical science fiction film set in 1963.   It was written and directed by Jeffrey St. Jules and premiered in 2014 at Toronto International Film Festival.  The film was awarded Best First Feature by both the Toronto International Film Festival and the Canadian Screen Awards.

In the title of a National Post article, Nathalie Atkinson called it “TIFF’s most stylish film.”

In addition to doing the graphics for this film, I had the opportunity to design the film’s logo and opening credits.  I worked in a style common to many movie posters of the era that I thought also suited this film very well.  I first drew the fonts by hand, afterwards digitizing and refining them in illustrator.

There is a scene in Bang Bang Baby in which the protagonist is watching a fictional 1950s film on TV.  This film-within-a-film was loosely based on “An American In Paris”.  Inspired by the hand-drawn backdrops used in a famous musical sequence in that film, I pitched the idea of doing something similar to the production designer, Aidan Leroux, who loved the idea.  I very much enjoyed immersing myself in the world of the particular cartoon-style illustration that prevalent in that era and trying to replicate it in my watercolour illustrations of Paris. I created a scrolling daytime panorama of a “street” – which was really more of a collection of Parisian landmarks strung together as the script seemed to suggest – that the actor walks in front of as well as a nighttime scene overlooking the city and the eiffel tower.  Both were rear-projected.  I also hand-drew some props including a baguette, a can of foie gras, some perfume, all of which mounted on foamcore and used in day-time sequence.

BORN TO BE BLUE (2016)

Born to Be Blue is a dramatic feature film based on the life of American jazz legend Chet Baker.  The Film stars Ethan Hawke as Baker and Carmen Ejogo as his love interest.  It was shown in the Special Presentations section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. The film was directed, produced and written by Robert Budreau.  Aidan Leroux was was given the DGC award for best Production Design for this film.

In the 1950s, Baker was one of the most famous and celebrated trumpeters in the world.  The film, howerver, zeroes in on a time in Chet Bakers life in the 1960s, when he was just about washed up, having fallen victim to a persistent heroin habit.  Born to be Blue begins just as the trumpet virtuoso, beset with a broken jaw, struggles to make a comeback, inspired in part by a new romance.

The film has a Tomatometer score of 88% (Rotten Tomatoes).

Stephen Holden of the New York Times wrote “In Ethan Hawke’s extraordinary performance, this glamorous enigma becomes a credible, if pathetic character who lives for only two things: to play the trumpet and to shoot heroin.

“This potent provocation of a movie says, yeah, Baker got lost, but look what he found.” – Peter Tavers, Rolling Stone Magazine

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