Incredible Posters Drop Classic Actors Into Modern Blockbusters
Alien starring Pam Grier. Pi directed by Woody Allen. Guardians of the Galaxy with Michael Jackson and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Peter Stults makes the movies you wish you could see. The thing is, though, he’s not a Hollywood big shot—he’s a graphic designer and illustrator. And his movies only exist on the posters he makes.
The posters, arranged in a series Stults calls “What If,” have been in the works since 2011. The concept, he says, grew out of his college habit of making posters based on conversations he had with friends where they invented movie titles, plots, and casting match-ups. Spending his 20s studying retro art, getting a B.A. in film and digital media, and working for a few years at a video store helped too.
“I enjoy reading about film history,” says Stults, who is a designer for Fordham University by day. “Especially the trivial bits like who was originally cast for a role, or a movie that never came to be due to studio politics, finance, or bad luck.”
Movie poster remixes are nothing new, but what makes Stults’s images so fantastic is that the meticulous, smartly-crafted movie scenarios he invents. (Admit it: You’d give your Right Hand of Doom to see Ridley Scott’s Hellboy.) That’s no accident. The illustrator puts a lot of thought into the way he re-casts the films on his posters. Sometimes he starts with an actor or a director or a particular era, but that’s just the beginning; after that, the real research starts. (Sample question: “Who’s the James Cameron of the ‘40s?”)
“I also get nit-picky about what is actually possible in terms of time and era,” the 33-year-old says. “Like, doing something where the plot just couldn’t happen outside of its own timeframe, which mainly pertains to ‘based on a true story’ films—doing The Social Network outside of the ’00s just doesn’t work.”
Although he’s made 90 “What If” posters, Stults doesn’t have a particular end in mind. He does, however, come up with smaller goals as he works, like his “David Collection” featuring the films of Davids Cronenberg, Lynch, and Fincher. He’ll will also occasionally do actor or genre challenges and make posters around a theme—like, for example, “isolation and claustrophobia,” which led to posters for Event Horizon and The Abyss.
“Then sometimes,” he says, “I’m out walking and then I get hit with concepts: ‘Bruce Lee in Tron!’”
Sadly, that Bruce Lee Tron poster has yet to materialize—he says it’ll be in his next volume. But you can check out some of Stults’s other fantastic posters above. (He has even more work on his Behance page.) And while you do, imagine just how great Sean Connery would’ve been in The Fifth Element.
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