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Empire's posters for Richard Ayoade film The

Posted by Rachael Steven, 12 March
London and New York-based studio
Empire Design has created a series of
film-noir inspired posters for Richard
Ayoade's forthcoming film, The Double.
The Double is the second film Ayoade
has directed. The first, Submarine, was
released in 2010 and nominated for a
BAFTA. Based on Fyodor
Dostoyevskys novel of the same name,
The Double follows the story of an
awkward male lead (Jesse Eisenberg)
who is driven to despair after his life is
usurped by someone who looks exactly
like him, but is his behavioural opposite.
Empire, which specialises in producing film ads and trailers including work for 12 Years a Slave, Dallas
Buyers Club and Mandela - Long Walk to Freedom, created both photographic and illustrated ads which
reference The Double's title, its psychological themes and Ayoade's artistic influences.
Images of Eisenberg and co-star Mia Wasikowska were shot on set by unit photographer Dean Rogers. Art
director John Calvert says Empire was given exclusive access to the script and set to ensure the team had "a
real feel" for visuals and lighting before designing the campaign.

Once the film was finished, Empire was

briefed by Ayoade and Studio Canal and
asked to convey a claustrophic atmosphere, as
well as referencing the well-known leads and

Richard also had some specific references

such as the Jean Luc Godard movie
Alphaville, Ingmar Bergmans Persona, the
poster for Jean-Pierre Melvilles Le Samurai,
film noir movies of the 1940s and a self
portrait by Edvard Munch. We then went
away and produced around of 10 to 15
visuals, [which] were refineduntil we ended
up with a look everyone was happy with,"
explains Calvert.
The photographs use lots of deep shadow and

were lit from a single overhead bulb. Theres very little, if any natural light in the film and you never see
any sky, adds Calvert. Type is inspired by lettering used in French posters from the 1960s but Calvert says
it was given a slight hand drawn roughness to avoid looking too much like a retro pastiche.

The illustrated ad (above) is inspired by one promoting Alfred Hitchcock's thriller, The 39 Steps, which
features similarly bold 3D type. In keeping with the darkness and sense of claustrophobia conveyed in the
photographic posters, the cityscape pictured is largely in darkness and long shadows have been added to
letters for an ominous feel.
The only light in the poster comes from a spotlight shining on a lone protagonist, which Calvert says was
added to give a sense of scale (La Boca and Human After All used a similar technique to great effect in their
posters for this year's BAFTAs)
I built [the poster] using Adobe Illustrator, then added texture and shading in Photoshop. We then gave it to
an illustrator, Warren Holder, who drew over the top
of it to get more of a sketched feel. The drawing was
then dropped back over the Photoshop file and the
two merged together, says Calvert.
Designing film posters that are bold enough to cut
through the visual noise of large cities without being
garish is always a challenge, but Empire's posters for
The Double do just that. They convey all of the
necessary information on the film's famous cast and
acclaimed director, while creating a sense of suspense
through a contemporary take on classic artwork from
decades past.
The Double is released in UK cinemas on April 4. See
more of Empire's work here.